Tiafoe Reaches Quarterfinals For Third Time in Four Years

Tiafoe Reaches Quarterfinals For Third Time in Four Years

By STEVE DORSEY 

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – Frances Tiafoe grew up in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Hyattsville, Md., but he has made a second home here in Palm Beach County where he has enjoyed some of his best moments on the tennis court.

Tiafoe won his only ATP Tour title at the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com in 2018, the only wild card champion in the tournament’s 28-year history. The 22-year-old world No. 62 took another step toward a possible second title here when he defeated fellow American Bjorn Fratangleo 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 Sunday on the Stadium Court at the Delray Beach Tennis Center.

Tiafoe’s second-round win earned the No. 8 seed a spot in the quarterfinals on Monday and improved his record in Delray Beach to 9-2, a far better winning percentage than any other venue he has played on the ATP Tour. So it’s easy to understand why Tiafoe unequivocally says this is one of his favorite courts in the world.

“I love playing here,” said Tiafoe, who now lives in nearby Boynton Beach. “My first title was here. I love South Florida. Got tons of friends and family out here, so it’s good vibes. I mean, they really got into it today. I was getting really pumped up in the third set, and they were for me.”

After Fratangelo evened the match in the second set, Tiafoe appeared to ramp up his focus, something that makes him a tough out when combined with his talent level. He raced to a 5-love lead in the third set, saving three break points in the process.

“I came up with some goods,” Tiafoe said. “But honestly, the first two sets weren’t great, but I played really well in the third. I finished really strong. I trusted my shots, started going for him and it worked out for me.”

Tiafoe was ousted here in the quarterfinals last year, which happened to be his seventh consecutive loss in that round at the time. This is his third appearnce in the Delray quarterfinals in the past four years.

“Hopefully, I can just keep going,” Tiafoe said. “I’ve got a tough one coming up. I’m gonna play a lefty regardless tomorrow. So, see how they do and hopefully they battle each other out and they’re tired tomorrow.”

Tiafoe’s quarterfinal opponent will be Cameron Norrie who advanced with a 6-2 ** win over No. 3 seed Adrian Mannarino an all-lefty battle late Sunday.

“I managed to win a lot of the long rallies at the start and set the tone for the match and built on my game and got better and better as the match went on,” Norrie said. “So I’m just pleased to get through.”

Norrie has reached his 10th career quarterfinal and eighth straight on hard courts. It is his best showing in Delray Beach after a pair of second round results.

Born to British parents in South Africa and raised in New Zealand, Norrie represents Great Britain on tour. He spent three years in the United States where he was the No. 1 ranked collegiate player in the nation while attending Texas Christian University.

Norrie will meet Tiafoe for the first time in their Monday night quarterfinal.

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