Big Foe Earns Big Win Against Hurkacz
Frances Tiafoe missed direct qualification for the 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals by one spot. Not being able to compete stung, motivating him to book his spot in Milan. And now that the American is at the Fiera Milano, he is taking advantage of the opportunity.
Tiafoe defeated Polish No. 1 Hubert Hurkacz 4-1, 4-2, 2-4, 4-3(10) to move to 1-0 in Group A play. The 20-year-old saved six of the seven break points he faced en route to his one-hour, 22-minute triumph.
“The tie-break was very interesting. He just kept coming with heat. He had no nerves. I’m happy for him, he’s had a great year. He was pretty low-ranked, he got into the Top 100, he snuck in here winning [the] Brest [Challenger]. I played him earlier this year, I knew it was going to be tough and I came out playing well.”
Early on, Tiafoe appeared to be in control, cruising through the first two sets without getting broken. Hurkacz on the other hand only managed to win 47 per cent (7/15) of his first-serve points through those first two sets, with three of those points coming on aces.
So after losing the second set, Hurkacz spoke through his headset to his coach, Rene Moller, trying to figure out how he could battle his way back into the match.
“Hey man, you’re competing, just keep working and you’ve got to try to be a little more aggressive here,” Moller said. “You’ve got to be willing to gamble a little bit if you want to take this title, so let’s red-line it here for the next three sets.”
That strategy paid off, as Hurkacz took the third set and would even earn two set points in the fourth-set tie-break. But Tiafoe found a way to battle through the 22-point tie-break and avoid going to a deciding set.
“He was coming up with the goods so I had to really step it up,” Tiafoe said. “Luckily I did.”