Frances Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz, Tommy Paul and Coco Gauff all advanced to the third round of the US Open on Wednesday to keep home hopes alive that an American player will be crowned champion at Flushing Meadows.
Tiafoe, who reached the semifinals last year, breezed past Sebastian Ofner 6-3 6-1 6-4 under the lights at Arthur Ashe Stadium, the 10th seed meeting little resistance from the 58th-ranked Austrian in their first career meeting.
Tiafoe did not drop serve in the match and sealed victory when he broke Ofner for a fifth time after the Austrian’s forehand went wide.
Next up for Tiafoe is Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, who beat Fabian Marozsan 3-6 6-3 6-4 6-1 earlier in the day.
“It’s going to be tough... but I’m ready for him,” Tiafoe said.
No American man has hoisted the trophy at Flushing Meadows since Andy Roddick two decades ago, while Sloane Stephens was the last U.S. woman to win the title in 2017.
“Me and Taylor are in the top 10, Tommy is knocking on the door. We all grew up together and know each other so well so I think American tennis is in a great place,” Tiafoe said.
“Hopefully we all keep going and stop that streak of Andy Roddick in ‘03.”
Fritz dropped only five games in his demolition of Peruvian Juan Pablo Varillas to ease into the third round and match his best result at the Grand Slam.
“We’ve all been hearing about who’s going to be the next American (after) Andy Roddick 20 years ago our entire careers. We all want it so bad,” said Fritz, who won 6-1 6-2 6-2.
“Hopefully it’ll be one of us soon.”
Earlier, Paul showed great heart to roar back from two sets down for the first time in his career to defeat Roman Safiullin 3-6 2-6 6-2 6-4 6-3.
When the match was over, the 14th seed from New Jersey raced over to hug and give a shirt to a young fan who had cheered him on throughout the more than three-hour contest.
Paul will have his hands full on Friday when he faces Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. The Spaniard has been sharp during the summer hardcourt swing and won his first two matches in straight sets.
On the women’s side, sixth seed Gauff delivered a convincing 6-3 6-2 win over Russia’s Mirra Andreeva in a battle of teenage talents.
Gauff, whose lead-up to the year’s final Grand Slam included hard-court titles in Washington and Cincinnati, converted four of her five break-point opportunities and surrendered her serve just once during the 76-minute match in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The 19-year-old said she took a more aggressive approach into her second meeting with Andreeva after having to rally back to beat the Russian in three sets at this year’s French Open.
“She’s the type of player if you give her something she’s going to take advantage and today I think I did well making her play off her back foot,” Gauff said of the 16-year-old.
“But Mirra, I think she has a great future ahead of her, I’ve been in her position before ... she’s going to be back on this stage many more times in the future.”
For home favourite Gauff, it was a much more routine day at the office considering she had to dig deep to secure a comeback win in an opening match that left her frustrated with the amount of time her opponent, Laura Siegemund, took between points.
Up next is Belgian 32nd seed Elise Mertens, who was a 3-6 7-6(7) 6-1 winner over American Danielle Collins in a match that lasted nearly three hours.
Another U.S. player heading for the exit was Wimbledon quarter-finalist Chris Eubanks, the 28th seed falling 7-6(6) 2-6 6-2 7-6(7) to wildcard Benjamin Bonzi of France.
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