Tiafoe Swings His Way Into Delray Beach Quarterfinals

Frances Tiafoe (photo: Andrew Patron/BigShots)

WASHINGTON, January 11, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

Eighth seed Frances Tiafoe advanced to the quarterfinal round of the ATP 250 Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 victory over fellow American Bjorn Fratangelo in Delray Beach, Fla. Sunday.

After beating U.S. qualifier Donald Young in straight sets on Friday, Tiafoe began sluggishly against the 274th-ranked Fratangelo, who he hadn’t played since 2016. However, the 62nd-ranked Tiafoe righted himself in the final set by winning four of the last five games of the one hour and 49-minute second-round match to set up a Monday evening meeting with Cameron Norrie of Great Britain. The No. 74 Norrie defeated No. 3 seed Adrian Mannarino of France, ranked 34th, 6-2, 7-5, in one hour and 35 minutes. Norrie overcame a 0-3 deficit in the second set and leveled the match at 3-all. Then, he won the final three games of match.

During an on-court interview after his victory, Tiafoe said, “I told myself to swing at the ball. I was pretty tentative in the first two sets. Even though I won the first set, I was behind the baseline a lot and he was running a lot of balls down. But then I freed up a little bit, and then it worked out.”

During the afternoon session, 35th-ranked and fourth seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland defeated No. 115 Daniel Elahi Galan of Colombia, 6-2, 6-2, to move into the quarterfinals against Roberto Quiroz of Ecuador. The University of Southern California alum reached his first ATP Tour-level quarterfinal by beating former Delray Beach Open champion Ivo Karlovic of Croatia, 6-2, 6-4, in a battle of big servers that lasted just 59 minutes. Karlovic finished with seven aces while the left-handed Quiroz hit four and won 90 percent of his first serves. The No. 293 Quiroz became the first Ecuadorian to reach an ATP Tour quarterfinal since his cousin Nicolas Lapentti back in 2008 at the Western & Southern Open.

News & noteworthy

Monday evening’s 6 p.m. quarterfinal (GMT -5) matching No. 2 seed and U.S. No. 1 John Isner, ranked 25th, and ATP NextGen rising American star Sebastian Korda will be a rematch of their second-round encounter from last year’s French Open. The 119th-ranked Korda won their second-round battle and has been impressive in his first two matches at Delray Beach, garnering wins over No. 95 Soonwoo Kwon (6-4, 6-4) and fifth seed Tommy Paul (4-6, 6-4, 6-2). After a first-round bye, Isner moved into the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory over Thiago Monteiro Saturday night.

After his second-round win, Isner told the ATP website in speaking about Korda: “Him and I get along very well. We both really love hockey. He’s a Boston Bruins fan, I’m a Carolina Hurricanes fan. He certainly has an incredible pedigree given his father’s tennis career, his two sisters doing amazing things on the LPGA Tour. Good to see him having success. That’s a very, very athletic family, no doubt about that.”