Tiafoe Denies Ymer Brothers A Stockholm Sweep After 'Growth Win'

American battles back vs. Elias after Mikael downs Tommy Paul

The best was saved for last on Thursday at the Stockholm Open, particularly for Frances Tiafoe. In the lone three-setter of the day across both singles and doubles, the American came back from a set and 0-4 down to edge home favourite Elias Ymer in a late-night thriller.

With the 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(2) victory, Tiafoe advanced to his seventh ATP Tour quarter-final of the season and denied the Ymer brothers a famous sweep of seeded opposition in their native Sweden. Earlier in the day, Mikael Ymer was a 6-2, 6-3 winner against eighth seed Tommy Paul.

"It was an unbelievable effort, a big growth win for me, to come back and win that," Tiafoe said post-match. "He got a little nervous there and I started upping my level. He still played well in the third. He served well, but I was able to get it done. Elias is a hell of a player."

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From 0-4 in the second set, Tiafoe won five straight games to turn the tables, then raced out to a 6/0 lead in the tie-break as he forced a decider. The third seed flirted with danger again in the final set, saving a break point at 1-2 and 2-3 before once again dominating the tie-break.

"I definitely didn't deserve to win today," Tiafoe added. "Elias was playing really well. In the beginning I was really flat, really negative. It's been a long year and it's tough, I'm pretty tired."

After improving to 2-0 in the pair's ATP Head2Head, with the previous meeting also in Stockholm last season, Tiafoe was full of praise for his World No. 129 opponent, a wild-card entry into the ATP 250 event.

"He just needs to believe in himself," he said of Ymer, who was seeking his third career tour-level quarter-final. "I think he strikes the ball just as good as anyone. He moves so fast. He's just got to believe in himself. Today, I think the only reason I won is because he just didn't believe it in the end. If he believes in himself he can be really good."

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Tiafoe will next face Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori, a 6-2, 6-2 winner against #NextGenATP Czch Jiri Lehecka. Mikael Ymer, who converted on five of seven break chances in his upset win against Paul, set a quarter-final meeting with top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday.

Fifth seed Alex de Minaur also advanced to the quarters on Thursday with a 6-4, 6-2 win against J.J. Wolf. The Aussie converted on four of five break points to book a showdown with fourth seed Denis Shapovalov.

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