Frances Tiafoe celebrated his 21st birthday in “Grand” style by reaching the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time at the Australian Open with a 7-5, 7-6(6), 6-7(1), 7-5 victory over #20 seed Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.
“This is a significant breakthrough for Frances,” said JTCC CEO Ray Benton. “He is the youngest American since Andy Roddick at Wimbledon in 2003 to reach the quarterfinals of a major. His future is wide open.”
The JTCC alumnus is guaranteed to break into the top 30 in the ATP world rankings for the first time and will become the #2 ranked American behind John Isner.
Although Dimitrov, a former world #3, exerted constant pressure, he was only able to take one set off a resolute Tiafoe, who stood firm saving 15 of 18 break points he faced and striking 63 winners in total to clinch his spot in the last eight.
Tiafoe’s opponent in the quarterfinals is 17-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal. The two have never met before, but Tiafoe expressed his excitement about facing one of the greatest players of all time in his post match interview with ESPN’s Pam Shriver. His clash with Nadal is scheduled during the night session on Rod Laver Arena and is due to start at around 5 am EST on Tuesday.
“It is hard to describe how proud everyone associated with JTCC is of Frances,” exuded JTCC Director of Tennis Vesa Ponkka. “We have all has been missing out on sleep over the last week but the excitement he has generated at JTCC and beyond with his play in Melbourne is truly special to witness.”