Tiafoe Overcomes Bagel Set To Reach Tokyo Final

  • Posted: Oct 08, 2022

Tiafoe Overcomes Bagel Set To Reach Tokyo Final

American seeking second ATP Tour title

Frances Tiafoe saw his perfect set record this week in Tokyo shattered as he conceded a shocking 6-0 second set in Saturday’s semi-finals. But the in-form American made sure the middle stanza would be a mere footnote as he regrouped for a 6-2, 0-6, 6-4 victory against Soonwoo Kwon.

“It was a weird match, but I’m happy to get through,” said Tiafoe, who is into his second final of the season and his fifth overall. “It’s not always going to be pretty, it’s not always going to be the best stuff, but a win is what matters.”

After the fourth seed powered through the opening set without facing a break pint, Kwon did the same in the second, dropping just three points on serve on his way to the shutout set.

“A little bit of a loose game, I got broken [early] in that second set, but he started definitely picking up his level. Then after that he was playing really well. I let the set go a little bit as well, but he was playing really well.”

The South Korean ran his tally to seven games in a row and threatened for eight with a break point at 1-0 in the final set, but Tiafoe found his footing to stop the bleeding at the crucial moment. Two aces and a backhand swinging-volley winner put the American on the board in the decider as he escaped 30/40.

On return at 2-2, Tiafoe brought up his second break chance of the game after claiming a cat-and-mouse point in which both men scrambled back and forth between the net and baseline. He converted when a Kwon volley floated long, then padded his lead with another break he tracked down a lob and managed a spinning backhand, which his opponent incorrectly chose not to play back.

That would not be the final twist, as Kwon got one break back to close to 4-5, but Tiafoe made no mistake on his second attempt to serve out the match, winning four points in a row from 0/15 to seal progress to the second ATP 500 final of his career (Vienna 2021).

More to follow…

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