Frances Tiafoe, the charismatic and highly skilled American tennis player, took another step towards winning the Boss Open on Friday by defeating Lorenzo Musetti. The match was extremely close, and either player could have won the match in just two sets, but Tiafoe pulled away in the third set and won 6-7 7-6 6-2.
Musetti is only 21 years old and has the skills to be a force on the tour for some time to come, but on Friday Tiafoe was simply better. Using solid and flat groundstrokes, Tiafoe has an at-times overpowering forehand and he struck the ball consistently enough to wear his opponent down.
Both players struggled on their second serves with Tiafoe winning only 41 percent of those serves and Musetti just 43 percent. Musetti started strong with his first serve and finished with 17 aces. Tiafoe kept his calm in the second set tie-breaker, however, and won 7-4. After that, the match was his.
Frances Tiafoe moves on at the Boss Open
Tiafoe had never made it to the semis of any grass-court tournament in his career, so this is just one more step in Tiafoe’s ascending career. He’s always had the power and athleticism to win matches, though maybe not always the touch. If he plays his best, he can beat nearly anyone on the ATP circuit.
Next for Tiafoe, he will face either fellow American Taylor Fritz or a qualifier from Hungary, Marton Fucsovics. If Tiafoe can win the tournament, he will break into the top 10 for the first time in his career. Frtiz is firmly entrenched in the top 10 so if Tiafoe can break in, that would mean two Americans would be among the top-ranked players, one of only two countries (if you count Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev for Russia) with two players inside the top 10.
American tennis struggled overall for many years after the Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras era but is definitely on the upswing now. Fritz and Tiafoe are both 25 years old with the game to stay relevant for some time. One of them has a very good chance of winning the Boss Open ahead of Wimbledon.