American Frances Tiafoe pulled off a remarkable comeback to upset Andrey Rublev to move into the fourth round of the U.S. Open on Friday.
The 23-year-old outlasted fifth-seeded Andrey Rublev 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6), 4-6, 6-1 and reached the fourth round for the second straight year.
Tiafoe had a small, late-night crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium going wild on every point in an upset win that pushed the record for the latest finish in tournament history.
After Rublev took the opening set on the back of a strong service game, Tiafoe bounced back in the second to keep the match evenly poised.
The American saved a set point in the third set tiebreak before going 2-1 up.
Rublev regained his momentum in the fourth when at 4-2 down, he won four consecutive games to force a decider.
But Tiafoe found an extra reserve of energy in the fifth where his forehands were faster and stronger, giving Rublev no chance to settle down as the American quickly jumped into a 5-0 lead before serving out the set.
Tiafoe said, “You guys are the reason I got it done tonight. You guys stuck with me all the way through.
“I love these matches… these are the matches I train for. I came out here thinking ‘I want to beat him’. Let’s keep going.”
“I’ve lost a lot of five-setters. I was just amped up… I wasn’t going to leave this court without winning tonight,” Tiafoe, who finished with 69 winners and 23 aces, added.
Up next for Tiafoe is Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, who beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-3.
“Felix is another great friend of mine, but I’m coming for him,”Tiafoe said.