Frances Tiafoe’s fairy-tale journey in the US Open continued with a thrilling straight sets triumph over Andrey Rublev as he claimed his place in the semi-final.
The 22nd seed made headlines across the world when he stunned the great Rafael Nadal in the fourth round, but he clearly isn’t prepared to rest on his laurels as shown in an impressive 7-6(3) 7-6(0) 6-4 win over Rublev.
Victory secures his first appearance in the semi-finals of a major - he is the first American male player to reach this stage of the tournament since Andy Roddick in 2006.
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Speaking on court afterwards, a clearly delighted Tiafoe said: "Man, this is wild. This is crazy. Having the biggest one of my life 24 hours ago and coming back and getting another big win.
"I feel so at home on courts like this. This court is unbelievable. You guys get so far behind me, I want to play. I want to get my best.
"Andrey is a hell of a player, so to back it up is huge growth. It's tough to turn the page but I did. And now I'm in the semis.
"I just always find a way somehow on this court. I was trying to play some great tennis and I have been, let's enjoy this one. We got two more guys. We got two more."
Jannik Sinner or Carlos Alcaraz await in the last-four. Asked if he will watch their game later on Wednesday, Tiafoe responded: "I'll sit back and watch them battle. While they have had a late night, I'll be kicking the feet up. Let them battle all night hopefully.
"But two great players and it's gonna be tough come Friday. But I'm here for either guy. "
A late decision to close the roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium delayed the start of the match, and that added nervous energy played itself out in the opening stages with Rublev stuttering to a hold of serve, before Tiafoe almost unravelled from 40-0 up in the second game.
With Tiafoe serving at 3-2 down, the American was pressed to deuce on so many occasions that the umpire and scoreboard lost track of the score - with a break point even being called incorrectly. Tiafoe held his nerve and avoided the distraction to level things.
Rublev found himself on the back foot more often than not, and Tiafoe excited his home crowd with a display of intriguing shots, including a delicious crosscourt drop volley and a 135mph serve straight down the T. Vitally, though, he still could not find the break.

Andrey Rublev - US Open 2022

Image credit: Getty Images

With the set going with serve, Rublev was 6-5 ahead when Tiafoe showed some nerves, which saw him dump a sluggish forehand into the net, to give the Russian hope of taking control. However, the American clipped the line with a laser-like crosscourt forehand to stay in the game, before surging on and forcing a tiebreaker.
Tiafoe dominated from the off and with his second set point, he wrapped up the breaker 7-3 to take the first set 7-6.
The second set played out in much the same way as the first, with neither player budging on their serve, and for the opening eight games, there was not even the sign of a flinch.
With Tiafoe aiming to go 5-4 ahead, the crowd in New York started feeling slightly anxious as Rublev put pressure on the American’s serve, but he eased all worries with a definitive ace, before his opponent put his next forehand just long.
A break of serve would just not arrive, leading the second set into a tiebreak once more. Seven straight points later, and Tiafoe had moved to within a set of his first major semi-final appearance.
At 1-1 in the third, the biggest chance for the first break of the game arrived when a crushing Tiafoe backhand return earned him two opportunities to take full control and pave his way to the last-four.
Rublev saved the first with a big serve, before an unforced error from Tiafoe let his opponent off the hook, and once again, the game continued on serve.
The back and forth nature of the contest continued until, finally, after two hours and twenty minutes, a breakthrough came with Tiafoe putting pressure on his opponent with aggressive play at the net.
Not only had he broken serve, but Tiafoe had seemingly broken Rublev, who was in tears when he returned to his seat.
Rublev returned to court determined to hit back, but his composure had vanished as he missed two break points as Tiafoe held to edge closer to the semi-finals.
The Russian held one more time, before at the first time of asking, Tiafoe served out to win in straight sets and reach a significant milestone in his career.
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