Frances Tiafoe has fired a strong warning to the remaining players at the US Open as he claimed he was backing himself to win the tournament. Two days after upsetting Rafael Nadal in the “biggest win of his life”, the 24-year-old ousted Andrey Rublev 7-6(3) 7-6(0) 6-4 and admitted he was full of confidence after his previous performance against the Spaniard.
Tiafoe is through to his maiden Grand Slam semi-final at the US Open, becoming the first American man since 2006 to reach the last four in New York. The 24-year-old will now make his top 20 as a result of his run, and believes he can go all the way.
“I do yeah, I do,” the 22nd seed told Greg Rusedski on Amazon Prime video when asked whether he believed he could lift the title on Sunday. “Everyone is kind of a first timer at this stage right now and look, going into this I know I can do well, and beating Rafa I know I can do well so I back myself.”
And the American was just as confident in his on-court interview, as he told the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd that he still had two more matches left, implying he would get through Friday’s semi-final and reach the championship match.
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“I feel so at home on courts like this, this court is unbelievable,” he said of the biggest stage in tennis. “You guys get so far behind me, I want to play, I want to give my best. I always find a way somehow on this court, I’ve always got to play some great tennis and I have been.”
Earning a huge cheer from the home crowd, Tiafoe added: “I’ve got two more [matches] guys, I’ve got two more.” After becoming the first American man to reach the US Open finals since Andy Roddick 16 years ago, the world No 26 also admitted he had impressed himself by backing up his win over Nadal from Monday.
“Man this is wild, this is crazy,” he beamed. “Probably biggest win of my life 48 hours ago, now coming out and getting another big win. Andrey is a hell of player. Backing it up, it’s huge growth. It’s tough to turn a page but I did and now I’m in the semis.”
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Tiafoe will now face either Carlos Alcaraz – the highest-ranked player remaining in the men’s draw – or Jannik Sinner in his maiden Grand Slam semi-final. Neither man has ever reached the last four at a Major either, and will face off in the second men’s quarter-final on Wednesday night.
Asked if he would be watching their match, the American laughed and said: “I’ll sit back and watch them battle. Late night and I’m kicking my feet up. Let them battle all night, hopefully. But two great players but it’s going to be tough come Friday, but I’m here for either guy.”
On the other side of the draw, the semi-final is already set as Casper Ruud will take on Karen Khachanov. Ruud is the only man left in the tournaament who has ever reached at least the last four of a Major after his run to the French Open final earlier this year.