Frances Tiafoe loves the biggest stages and challenges in tennis. The American might get just that on Monday at the US Open.
The 22nd seed saved five set points in the first set before defeating 14th seed Diego Schwartman 7-6(7), 6-4, 6-4 to reach the fourth round at Flushing Meadows, where he will play Rafael Nadal if the second seed moves past Richard Gasquet.
Tiafoe is the first American man to reach the fourth round at the US Open in three consecutive years since Mardy Fish accomplished the feat from 2010-12. He will try to advance to his second Grand Slam quarter-final.
It was a clean match for Tiafoe, who hit 45 winners to just 34 unforced errors and converted eight of the 18 break points he won. The home favourite levelled his ATP Head2Head with Schwartzman after three hours and two minutes.
The key inside Louis Armstrong Stadium came in the first set, which Schwartzman led 5-2. The Argentine served for the set three times and held two set points serving at 5-4. On both points, he made unforced errors. Schwartzman earned another three points at 6/3 in the tie-break, but was unable to convert any of them. Tiafoe took full advantage and never relinquished the momentum from there.