How Frances Tiafoe went from sleeping at a tennis center to the US Open semifinals
Frances Tiafoe is from Philadelphia.
But the 19-year-old from California has spent as much time in Philadelphia as outside the city, playing tennis, coaching and training young children at the Philadelphia Lawn Tennis Training Center here.
While he has been in the city for just a few months, he already has shown that he has the mental strength and determination to make it to the US Open quarterfinals.
On Monday, he was in the semifinal against No. 9 seed Dominic Thiem, a German who has won his first two titles.
There were tears in the eyes of both players afterward, but nothing could keep the smiles from Tiafoe at the start of his game.
In the second set, a long rally with Thiem serving, Tiafoe stepped up to hit it with the best intentions, a shot that was going to be a killer for the number 9 seed.
Thiem served it to deuce, but was able to save the set.
In the third set, Tiafoe went with a strategy that was right on. He played with the ball, hitting it all over the court, getting into the serves and putting Thiem under pressure.
Tiafoe made a few errors, but was able to keep the momentum going along the way.
After Thiem leveled the set at 4-all, Tiafoe pulled back, and Thiem served it out for a 5-4 win to advance to the semifinals.
It is Tiafoe’s first Grand Slam quarterfinal in the Open era.
Tiafoe, who was born and raised in Phoenix, could not play this tournament at a pro tennis event where his idol was Novak Djokovic. There was too much uncertainty.
“This place was one of the most stressful things for me and my family,” Tiafoe said. “This wasn’t what I dreamed of…I wanted