By: Ben Raby (www.twitter.com/benraby31)
Frances Tiafoe (Hyattsville, MD.) is into the Citi Open quarterfinals for the first time. The DMV native reached the Final-8 by rallying past Botic van de Zandschulp 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 in a match played across two days due to inclement weather.
“It would be huge,” Tiafoe said this week of the possibility of making an elusive deep run at home.
“The closer you get to the business end of the week, I think big points, big opportunities. Playing here in D.C., honestly… to win this tournament would mean the world to me.”
Tiafoe, 24, grew up attending the Citi Open as a fan and later made his ATP debut as a wild card in 2014. He recalled this week, his childhood memories of seeing legends like Andre Agassi and Lleyton Hewitt in Rock Creek Park.
This marks Tiafoe’s sixth time competing at home, but until today he had never advanced beyond the Round-of-16.
Tiafoe won’t have much time to reflect on the benchmark given his quick turnaround. The JTCC alum will face 2019 Citi Open champion Nick Kyrgios in a blockbuster first match for the evening session on Stadium.
Kyrgios, competing in singles this week for the first time reaching the Wimbledon final, beat No.4 Reilly Opelka 7-6(1), 6-2 in another match that was suspended last night due to rain, but concluded this afternoon. Kyrgios has now reached the quarterfinals (or better) in six of his last seven events.
The nightcap on Stadium this evening will see No.1 seed Andrey Rublev face American wild card J.J. Wolf. Rublev reached the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 7-6(8) win over American Maxime Cressy. Wolf outlasted #NextGenATP star Holger Runne 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in 2 hours 36 minutes on Court 4.