When local tennis player Frances Tiafoe tested positive for COVID-19 back in July and the Citi Open was set to take place just a month later near his hometown in Hyattsville, Md., he reached an all-time low and feared he would not have enough time to prepare.
Now, two months later, Tiafoe has accepted that everything does happen for a reason as he prepares to compete in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Monday evening against the tournament’s three-seed and the No. 5 player in the world – Daniil Medvedev.
After recovering from COVID-19 and having extra time to prepare with the Citi Open canceled, the DMV native embarked on his journey in this year’s U.S. Open and has again proven his dominance in the sport as the No. 82 player in the world.
While 2020 has had its low points for Tiafoe, it has also been his breakout year, as he reached the Australian Open quarterfinals in January, which helped him climb to a career-high No. 29 world ranking. Now, as the last American man standing in the U.S. Open, he will compete against some of the world’s best with only 16 players remaining.
Tiafoe has the necessary momentum carrying him into an especially challenging match against Medvedev. He won the first five-set match of his career in the second round against Australian John Millman before taking down Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics in the third round, who had won their previous two meetings. He called his third-round match “one of my best performances, start to finish.”
With the tournament’s third seed as his next opponent – a player who battled Rafael Nadal in five sets in last year’s finals – Tiafoe will look to make a statement and take down one of the best singles players in the world. In their previous two meetings at the Citi Open and Australian Open, Medvedev walked away with the victorious, but the 22-year-old rising star will look to change the course of history.
Tiafoe will face off against Medvedev in the U.S. Open Round of 16 at 7 p.m. on Monday night.