Frances Tiafoe recorded the biggest win of his career on Wednesday in Melbourne by beating world #6 South African Kevin Anderson 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5.
His victory marked three “firsts” for the upwardly mobile 20-year-old who reached the third round of the Australian Open for the first time, scored his first victory over Anderson which was also his first success against a top 10 player at a Grand Slam.
The JTCC alumnus served superbly throughout the three-hour long contest against #5 seed winning an impressive 80% of the points on his first serve. As in his opening round, Tiafoe continued and increased his aggressive forward movement winning 21 of the 27 points when he came to the net.
The 20-year-old is already projected to reach a new career high of #34 in the ATP world rankings by advancing to the round of 32 for the second time at a major (Wimbledon 2018).
On Friday, Tiafoe will face Italian veteran world #35 Andreas Seppi whom he is slated to pass in the rankings. The two have never previously played each other.
Denis Kudla, who was on court in his second round match at the exact same time as Tiafoe, nearly made it a double celebration for JTCC narrowly going down to #18 seed Diego Schwartzman 4-6, 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(6), 4-6 in a four-hour battle. It was Kudla’s second five-set match in three days, and he held up to the physical pressures with remarkable conditioning battling back from two sets down.
Kudla broke Schwartzman as the Argentine served for the match in fourth set and won the tiebreak 8-6, but he could not quite carry the momentum through the fifth set. However, the 26-year old’s form bodes well for the rest of the season, and he is projected to climb to #59 in the world rankings following the Australian Open approaching his career high of #53 following Wimbledon 2015.
“Frances’ play against one of the game’s top performers shows that he really belongs at the highest level,” said JTCC CEO Ray Benton. “Anderson is a very experienced campaigner, but Frances kept his composure in the key moments and is well-equipped to make further progress in Melbourne.
“We are also very proud of Denis. To have two JTCC alumni competing on the world stage together is inspirational for current JTCC student-athletes,” concluded Benton.