Frances Tiafoe in rare company, becomes just 3rd Black man in tennis top 10

Tiafoe moves to 3-4 in career finals with his second tournament win of the year.

STUTTGART, Germany (AP) — There will be two American men’s tennis players ranked in the top 10 for the first time in more than a decade after Frances Tiafoe beat Jan-Lennard Struff on Sunday to win the Stuttgart Open for his first grass-court title.

Tiafoe won 4-6, 7-6 (1), 7-6 (8) after saving a match point in the deciding tiebreaker and will move up to a career-high ranking of 10th on Monday, up from 12th.

United States’ Frances Tiafoe returns the ball to Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics during a semi-final match of the Stuttgart Open, in Stuttgart, Germany, Saturday, June 17, 2023. (Marijan Murat/dpa via AP)

Along with Taylor Fritz in eighth, the U.S. has two men in the top 10 for the first time since Mardy Fish and John Isner were ninth and 10th in May 2012, the ATP tour said.

Tiafoe failed to convert his first match point at 6-5 in the decisive tiebreaker when he hit into the net after the longest rally of the match. Struff then had a match point of his own at 7-6, which Tiafoe saved with a backhand.

A miscued return cost Tiafoe his second match point before a hectic finish on his third when he hit a smash only for Struff to somehow return it, before Tiafoe finished off the win with an instinctive volley at the net.

“I got super lucky there on match point. I still don’t know how I hauled it over the net but I’ll take it,” Tiafoe said.

Tiafoe won the final despite not having a single break of serve against Struff, who hit 28 aces.

Tiafoe’s tournament has been packed with tiebreakers — six of the 10 sets he played in Stuttgart finished that way — and he saved six set points in another tiebreaker in his semifinal win over Marton Fucsovics.

Tiafoe moves to 3-4 in career finals with his second tournament win of the year after beating Tomás Martín Etcheverry for the Houston title on clay in April.

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