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Frances Tiafoe Defeats Andrey Rublev, Advances to U.S. Open Semifinals

American Frances Tiafoe overtook No. 9 Andrey Rublev in the U.S. Open quarterfinals in straight sets 7–6(3), 7–6(0), 6–4 to advance to his first career Grand Slam semifinal.

Wednesday’s match was a close battle between the No. 9 and No. 22 ranked players. Neither player could break the other during their serving games until Tiafoe succeeded in the third set to go up 4–3. This then allowed him to lead 5–3 after his service game.

This wasn’t the first time Tiafoe upset Rublev. At last year’s U.S. Open, Tiafoe beat Rublev in five sets in the third round. The furthest Tiafoe’s gone in a Grand Slam tournament is the fourth round (2020 and ’21 U.S. Open as well as ’22 Wimbledon).

The 24-year-old’s historic win also makes him the first Black American to advance to a U.S. Open semifinal since 1972 when Arthur Ashe achieved the feat. Coincidentally, Tiafoe played in Arthur Ashe Stadium during Wednesday’s win.

An American man hasn’t won a Grand Slam title since 2003 when Andy Roddick captured the U.S. Open title that year. An American man hasn’t made a major semifinal since John Isner at Wimbledon in 2018. Could Tiafoe end the nearly two-decade drought of American men coming up short at Grand Slam tournaments?

Tiafoe will face the winner of Wednesday night’s quarterfinals match between No. 3 Carlos Alcaraz and No. 11 Jannik Sinner. The men’s singles semifinal matches will take place on Friday, Sept. 9.

Rublev was the third ranked player Tiafoe beat in this year’s U.S. Open so far. In the third round, the American took down No. 14 Diego Schwartzman in three sets. 

Then, in the Round of 16 on Monday, Tiafoe completed one of the biggest upsets in his career by beating No. 2 Rafael Nadal in four sets. He previously only had seven wins against Top 10 players in his career.

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