Tiafoe Ousts Tsitsipas In Wimbledon Day 1 Stunner
Frances Tiafoe sent shockwaves around the All England Club on Monday as he kicked off his Wimbledon campaign with a major upset, taking down third seed and Roland Garros finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4, 6-3.
The American never dropped serve en route to the biggest win of his career, as he defeated a Top 5-ranked player for the first time in 12 attempts. Tiafoe, who lifted his first grass-court trophy at an ATP Challenger Tour event in Nottingham and reached the cinch Championships quarter-finals, improved to 13-12 on the season with the victory.
"These are matches I actually love," Tiafoe said. "I play great tennis against high-caliber players. I've beaten high-caliber players. The minimum I want to do is at least give myself a chance to win. I did.
"I woke up this morning like, 'Yeah, I'm beating Stefanos.' It happened. I think believing it when nobody else does is so big."
Tsitsipas, who fell to Novak Djokovic a fortnight ago after leading by two sets in the final at Roland Garros, was the highest seed drawn into the World No. 1’s half. His exit opens up Djokovic’s path to finish the year at the top of the FedEx ATP Rankings for a record seventh time. Tsitsipas sits in second position on the FedEx ATP Race To Turin, which this year will determine the year-end FedEx ATP Rankings, and trailed just 610 points behind Race leader Djokovic at the start of Wimbledon.
Tiafoe, currently No. 57 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, honed in on the Tsitsipas backhand as they played under the closed roof on No. 1 Court. The American directed traffic to the Greek’s one-hander and earned the first break in his opponent’s opening service game for a 2-0 lead. He fired an ace, one of seven in the match, to dodge break-back points and hold his lead at 3-1 on his way to serving out the set.
Two sets up against the No.3 seed 👏— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 28, 2021
Frances Tiafoe is enjoying himself on No.1 Court...#Wimbledon pic.twitter.com/jiL7u0Wyzx
The third seed stayed toe-to-toe with Tiafoe in the tightly contested second set, and only dropped three points on his serve across the first eight games. But with the pressure mounting on Tsitsipas at the crucial 4-4 game, Tiafoe finally worked his way to break points.
The American teed off on a second serve, returning to Tsitsipas’ feet and earning a backhand error to claim the decisive break. Tiafoe had to fight through three break points, holding serve from 15/40 down, to clinch the second set.
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He continued his momentum in the third set, firing a flurry of winners past Tsitsipas to start the third set a break to the good. Tsitsipas dug deep as he tried to battle his way back, keeping the pressure on Tiafoe with aggressive returns to create three break chances in the third set and push the American to Deuce 10 times. But Tiafoe never flinched, and closed out his career’s biggest victory to reach the second round at Wimbledon for the third time.
He now plays Canada's Vasek Pospisil, who beat Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in one hour and 44 minutes. Pospisil is seeking to reach the third round at the All England Club for the second time (also 2018), equalling his best Wimbledon result.
Did You Know?
Tiafoe is one of the 34 American players (21 women, 13 men) competing in the Wimbledon singles main draw – the most since 35 did in 1998.