NEW YORK (AP) — About 20 minutes after Frances Tiafoe earned the first trip to the U.S. Open semifinals by an American man since 2006, he met up in an Arthur Ashe Stadium foyer with a host of friends, Washington Wizards All-Star guard Bradley Beal among them.
Everyone traded hearty hugs and huge smiles. Tiafoe shouted, "Let's pose for a dope photo!" and they obliged. As the nine-person line stood together, someone yelled, "Throw up a ‘Dub!'" so Tiafoe and others formed a "W" —as in "Win"— by joining thumbs and index fingers on both hands. Tiafoe's girlfriend ran through the nearby double doors, jumped into his arms, gave him a kiss, then wiped away lipstick from his mouth.
Most assuredly a showman, and someone striving for years for this sort of success on big stages, Tiafoe sure is enjoying the ride, as are his pals, his parents and the partisan fans, who last celebrated a Grand Slam trophy for a man from the United States two decades ago.
Tiafoe managed the tricky task of following up the biggest win of his career, against 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal in the fourth round, with another milestone victory, beating No. 9 seed Andrey Rublev 7-6 (3), 7-6 (0), 6-4 behind the backing of a boisterous crowd on Wednesday.
"I love to show the world what I can do," said the 24-year-old Tiafoe, who is seeded 22nd at Flushing Meadows. "I just want to go out there and try to give the crowd what they want—and that's me getting the win."