WATCH: Tennis Channel Live discusses Tiafoe defeating Nadal in the fourth round of the 2022 US Open


NEW YORK—For years, Frances Tiafoe’s slogan on social media and in post-match press conferences has been the same: Big Foe on the come-up.

Now, he’s officially come all the way up—and the sky's the limit after breaking through to his first Grand Slam semifinal after a superb 7-6 (3), 7-6 (0), 6-4 victory over No 9 seed Andrey Rublev.

The 24-year-old’s incredible journey into the ATP Tour’s elite has been well documented: the son of immigrants from Sierra Leone, Tiafoe’s father got a job as a janitor in a Maryland JTCC. Tiafoe and his family lived in a space office at the tennis center, sparking his eventual interest in the sport.

On Wednesday afternoon, he became the first Black American man to reach the US Open semifinals since Arthur Ashe in 1972—and he did it in style, and on the court named for Ashe himself.

Tiafoe improved to 26-18 on the season with his victory over Rublev in the US Open quarterfinals.

Tiafoe improved to 26-18 on the season with his victory over Rublev in the US Open quarterfinals.

“Believe in yourself, it's so big,” Tiafoe said afterwards. “You have to believe in yourself before anybody else does.”

Our Baseline Quote of the Day:

Q. After every time you win, people are talking about what you mean to U.S. tennis, to men's tennis, to black men in tennis, people of color in tennis. Does that energize? Do you feel more pressure?

FRANCES TIAFOE: I mean, not really. I know what it's going to come with. You win matches, you know people are going to say what they are going to say. All those different things.

Every time I win, I just want to inspire a bunch of people to just know that… anything is possible. For me, to do this and talk about how I feel about being in the US Open from my come-up, is crazy.

At the end of the day I love that because of Frances Tiafoe there’s a lot of people of color playing tennis. That's obviously a goal for me. That's why I'm out here trying pretty hard.


After completing a stunning 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 upset over Rafael Nadal in the fourth round, Tiafoe kept his cool and didn’t let himself get caught up in a post-win hangover against Rublev.

The American was on song in each of the tiebreaks—especially in his perfect second-set decider—and claimed a decisive break of serve at the end of the third to continue his US Open journey.

Up next, Tiafoe will face the winner of No. 3 seed Carlos Alcaraz and No. 11 Jannik Sinner, hoping to keep writing more history for American men’s tennis—and with an eye on a place in his first Grand Slam final.