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Wayne Lumbasi

Francis Tiafoe made history when he advanced to the US Open men’s semifinals on Wednesday at New York’s Arthur Ashe Stadium. It seemed like a major milestone in the 24-year-old American’s career, the result of hard effort and raw talent that has long been lauded as the country’s possible future of men’s tennis

The 24-year-old tennis player is the first Black American man to reach the semifinals since Arthur Ashe in 1972. Tiafoe is also the first American male to make it to the semifinals since Andy Roddick in 2006.

Roddick, who retired in 2012, was present to witness Tiafoe’s victory. Tiafoe was lively and energetic throughout his strong performance against Russia’s Andrey Rublev, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-0), 6-4.

There was a time, not long ago, when Frances Tiafoe was known as a great story. The details were as irresistible as they were inspiring, the dreamy version of the American Dream.

His parents were immigrants from Sierra Leone. His father, worked as a maintenance man at the neighboring Junior Tennis Champions Center, which allowed Tiafoe to enroll in their starting tennis clinics at the age of five.

He and his twin brother Franklin would play tennis at the JTCC every day, and Tiafoe immediately got fascinated with the sport. Tiafoe advanced through the junior levels, winning the USTA Junior National Championship at the age of 17 and joining the ATP Tour in 2014. He reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in 2019, but 2022 has been his breakout year, with a fourth-round performance at Wimbledon and now the US Open semifinals.

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Faith Nyasuguta

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