Tiafoe, Paul Continue American Success With Third-Round Wimbledon Wins
After eight American men advanced to the Wimbledon third round — the most to reach that stage of a Grand Slam since the 1996 US Open — Frances Tiafoe and Tommy Paul ensured at least two will be among the last 16 with Friday victories.
"We are damn good," a smiling Tiafoe said of the American contingent. "We're playing great tennis. I think we always feed off each other. We all believe it, all believe we can be even doing better than what we are doing currently. One guy does well, the next guy wants to step up. It's all good. I think we've just got to keep going."
Tiafoe, the 23rd seed, came through a 3-6, 7-6(1), 7-6(3), 6-4 battle with Alexander Bublik to advance to the fourth round for the first time at SW19. After dominating both tie-breaks, the American surrendered an early break advantage and needed a clutch ace to save a break point at 4-4 in the fourth set.
That sparked a late surge as he won seven of the match's final eight points, sealing victory with his third break of the match on No. 2 Court.
"I think just getting that hold at four-all was so big," Tiafoe said in his post-match presser. "Hitting that ace down break point was massive... Just giving myself a chance to have him 4-5 following me, and then he blinked again. One bad game from him."
The American fended off a slew of underarm serves down the stretch to avenge a loss to Bublik last week in Eastbourne, when he dropped a 6-0 third set.
"I knew it was going to be a little bit of a different match today," Tiafoe said. "Third round at Wimbledon, we were both going to give it our all.
"He's a tough player. He serves so big. On grass, [it's] not easy to return that. He's going to pull out some Kyrgios-esque [shots] at times, which he did at the end of the fourth. He can make it complicated for a lot of guys."
Paul enjoyed a more straight-forward victory on Wimbledon's No. 3 Court, dismissing Jiri Vesely 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. Making his Wimbledon main-draw debut, the 30th seed has won all nine sets he's played this week, dropping just seven games in each of his last two matches.
The 25-year-old saved all seven break points against him on Friday, including three in his opening service games in sets two and three. He converted on four of his nine chances on the return.