WATCH: Tiafoe began the week with a seamless opening-round victory over fellow American Christopher Eubanks.

WASHINGTON—Frances Tiafoe was in the midst of storming back against Botic van de Zandschulp when thunder and lightning halted their Citi Open third round clash at a set apiece, 4-6, 6-2.

A DMV native, the No. 10 seed is looking to make a first quarterfinal in Washington, D.C. and spoke with reverence for his hometown tournament in press earlier this week.

“It could be a 250 or whatever it is here in D.C., a 500, I mean, to win this tournament would mean the world to me,” he said after overcoming fellow American Christopher Eubanks, 6-3, 7-6 (2). “I have been coming to this tournament since I was four years old. To have my name around the stadium would mean a lot to me.”

Those early memories go back to the days of Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi, making Tiafoe both historian and de facto ambassador for his favorite week on the schedule.

“I see a lot of people coming and playing the tournament and enjoying my city. Everyone says how great the city is every time they come. That means a lot to me. This is a great event.”

He certainly does his part to keep the stands full, jokingly boasting of the 56 tickets he gave out to friends and family.


I have been coming to this tournament since I was four years old. To have my name around the stadium would mean a lot to me. Frances Tiafoe

“I keep telling my agent, ‘Yeah, this is the last one, last one.’ Someone comes out of the woodwork.

“It's good. I had 56 reasons why I wanted to win today. A lot of people came to see me play and hopefully win.”

Tiafoe has enjoyed support across the globe thanks to a dynamic game and irrepressible charm, and the world No. 27 has given fans plenty to cheer for after an impressive start to the summer, reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon and the semifinals in Atlanta.

“I'm just more locked in,” he said of his improved consistency, “and also I'm enjoying it a bit more. I'm kind of letting the game come to me, just playing, and I know what I'm able to do.

“I think it's just going out there and doing it. Wherever the chips fall, they fall. I feel sometimes you try to force the issue. That's when you become your own problem.

“So yeah, I'm just kind of doing me, and, yeah, let my racquet kind of do its thing.”


The racquet could only do so much when the weather refused to cooperate, twice sending Tiafoe and Van de Zandschulp off court before play was ultimately suspended for the evening.

The two will resume play Friday afternoon on what promises to be a stacked day of action as third round and quarterfinal action will take place throughout the day—provided, of course, that the forecast remains clear.

And if it does, the fans will be back on John A. Harris Grandstand court hoping to lift their man into the last eight. In return, Tiafoe will do all he can to put on an unforgettable show.

“It's starting to make sense again,” he said, having struggled with injuries after the Australian Open. “Right at the perfect time, hard court summer, with the US Open on the way, with the huge tournament right in front of me. I'm excited.”