Tiafoe On Verge Of Challenger Hat Trick

#NextGen Frances Tiafoe has already reached two ATP Challenger Tour finals this summer and he’s now one match away from completing a three-peat.

The 18-year-old American is into the semi-finals of the $100,000 Challenger in Granby, Canada, where he is the fourth seed. On Friday, he weathered a late surge from Andrew Whittington of Australia to record a convincing quarter-final victory, 6-0, 7-6(4).

Tiafoe reached Challenger finals last month on American soil in Winnetka (l. Nishioka) and Lexington (l. Escobedo). But while he’s happy with his success this summer, he isn’t overwhelmed by it.

“I’d say this summer has met my expectations, but not exceeded them,” said Tiafoe. "I’ve been working hard and figuring out the way I need to play. I’m happy to start having consistent results. I’ve been in a lot of Challenger finals, but I’d make one and then it’d be a few months before the next one. To reach two of them in two weeks is great.”

Part of his most recent success can be chalked up to experience. Now that he’s in his second full year on tour, he has a clear idea of what he needs to do to reach the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings and continue climbing from there.

"It definitely feels easier. I know what to expect and how to manage myself now,” said Tiafoe. “I’m just trying to serve better, stay solid from the ground and compete point by point, without losing focus. Sometimes I go in and out mentally and that’s when life can get tricky.

Tiafoe has already reached five ATP Challenger Tour finals, including four in the past calendar year, but is well aware he’s still looking for his first Challenger title. The American is confident he’ll break through with his maiden Challenger win soon and thinks it could even happen as soon as Sunday.

“I’m really liking Granby,” said Tiafoe. “It’s a very nice stadium with big crowds and everything is pretty easy here. It feels like I’m playing at home.”

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