How Frances Tiafoe went from sleeping at a tennis center to the US Open semifinals
Frances Tiafoe’s career has been filled with highs and lows, but her US Open semifinal victory would represent one of the most important accomplishments of her tennis journey.
Tiafoe is best known for her tennis. Now, after a remarkable season capped by a world-tournament singles final, she is going back to the US Open, where she hasn’t played since the spring of 2018, to seek her first career championship.
With the U.S. Open beginning on Tuesday, Tiafoe’s journey to the US final has taken her from the top of the tour to a country-club tennis center, to a suburban apartment in Miami and finally to the US Open final.
In Tiafoe’s first five US Open finals, she was either the runner-up or defending champion. In her victory over No. 2 seed Ashleigh Barty in the third round, she became the first player since Martina Navratilova in 1988 to go beyond the first round and to reach the US Open final.
Barty, the first of four women Tiafoe faces in the US Open final, is one of four women Tiafoe has beaten this season.
The other three are Garbiñe Muguruza, Naomi Osaka and Jelena Ostapenko.
Tiafoe, 24, has come under scrutiny this year by the sport’s governing bodies for her on-court antics and off-court behavior. She frequently clashed with fellow players on social media, in interviews with the media and during matches. She was banned from practice at the Cincinnati Championships and the WTA Players Championship because of her on-court behaviors.
Barty and Muguruza were the only two players to beat Tiafoe this season on their way to the final. The other two players to win over the American include Osaka and Ostapenko.