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Jan 18, 2017

18-year-old American wins first main draw Grand Slam match 

Faces fellow teenager Alexander Zverev in 2nd Round

A determined Frances Tiafoe recorded his first career Grand Slam main draw win with an opening round 6-1, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-2 victory over Kazakhstan’s Mikail Kukushkin at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Tuesday.

The JTCC alumnus dominated by winning 81% of the points on his first serve dropping only one service game throughout the two and a half hour contest. The 18-year-old consistently put his more experienced opponent under pressure with his aggressive returns and converted on six out of 14 break point opportunities.

The College Park native’s performance drew worthy praise from ESPN commentators Jason Goodall and Brad Gilbert. Tiafoe came out on top with 37% of the vote in an ESPN poll during the coverage asking which of the seven male American players under the age of 20 in the main draw at Melbourne Park has the most career potential.

Tiafoe’s success saw him become the first male player born in 1998 to win a main draw match at a Grand Slam.

Next up for Tiafoe on Thursday in the second round is 19-year-old German and #24 seed Alexander Zverev which will be a highlight of day four in Melbourne.

“Frances thoroughly deserves this success after coming so close to beating John Isner at the US Open,” said JTCC Senior Director of Tennis, Vesa Ponkka. “He has continued to improve and learned from that defeat, and he is well-equipped to continue his winning run in Australia.”

Frances Tiafoe on his way to victory in Round 1 of the Australian Open (Theo Karanikos)

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