How Frances Tiafoe went from sleeping at a tennis center to the US Open semifinals
We finally have new numbers: Frances Tiafoe is among a small handful of players who have won enough tournaments to make the cut for the year-end top-100 this week. She is the second American to do that for 2018, joining Naomi Osaka, the only woman to crack the list.
Tiafoe is not the player many would have thought she could be just a year ago when we first had her on the radar for a big result in New York. She is the youngest woman to ever reach a Grand Slam semifinal since then, and is the only player since the 2018 US Open to play on three Grand Slams over the summer, at Melbourne Park, Tokyo Olympics, and the Rogers Cup.
Tiafoe may have only just reached the round of 16 at the French Open, but this tournament certainly did not feel like a cake walk, with seven match points that she needed to save. She came back from a set down to win her third straight match against Dominika Cibulkova. She then stunned Madison Keys and then came from behind to win the next set against Caroline Garcia. She is just the fourth player in the Open era to reach three straight sets at the US Open, and she is the only player to win at least three slams in the same year and the only to do it playing the number one ranked player not on a team.
So what does the future hold for the 20-year-old US Open champion? It’s hard to say. There is not a lot to base an opinion on for a player who does not have the most experience to date, but you have to give her credit for not taking the easy way out to win the title despite being ranked number one on the WTA. Tiafoe is clearly putting in work. There is no doubting her talent, which is undeniable. But the hard work has to start in her junior career.