Misc Tennis

The three players who could end the U.S. men’s major drought

The three players who could end the U.S. men's major drought

NEW YORK — For the first time since 2005, three American men advanced to the quarterfinals of the US Open on Sunday. Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe and Ben Shelton all emerged victorious and will next play on Tuesday with semifinal berths on the line.

That achievement also makes this the first major since 1968 in which two Black American men (Tiafoe and Shelton) have reached this stage of the tournament.

It’s been a resurgent season for the countrymen as a group. The American men’s struggles have been well documented in recent years. No countryman has won a major title since Andy Roddick did so at the US Open in 2003, and none has reached a final since 2009. The American women have remained a dominant force in the sport, with four women winning Slam titles since Roddick’s triumph, and now, a new crop of talented young Americans has begun to turn the men’s fortunes around.

For the first time in over a decade, two American men — Fritz and Tiafoe — are ranked in the top 10. Eight are currently in the top 50. Tommy Paul, who lost to Shelton on Sunday, reached the semifinals at the Australian Open in January, and at least one American is guaranteed to at least match that result in Queens this week.

So who are the three American men who have a chance to snap the 20-year major title drought? Here’s everything you need to know entering the quarterfinals.

Taylor Fritz

Ranking: 9
Age: 25
Best previous major result: 2022 Wimbledon quarterfinals
Up next: Novak Djokovic

The top-ranked American man and 2015 US Open junior champion, Fritz advanced to his first quarterfinals in New York on Sunday with a straight-sets win over Dominic Stricker. Since the start of 2022, Fritz has won five ATP titles — including at the Masters 1000-level Indian Wells in which he defeated Rafael Nadal in the final — and he reached his first quarterfinals at a Grand Slam at Wimbledon just months later.

He hadn’t advanced past the third round at a major this year prior to coming to New York but had won two hard-court titles, including one in Atlanta. He said he felt pressure entering the US Open this year as a result of his recent success and less-than-stellar record at Slams but was trying to simply focus on one match at a time. As he’s yet to drop a set all tournament, his strategy seems to be paying off.

“I’m playing great but I’m not going to get ahead of myself,” he…

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