Eighth-seeded Frances Tiafoe booked his first quarter-final spot of the year at the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com on Sunday with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 victory over the tricky Bjorn Fratangelo.
The 22-year-old American came into the match after scoring a comfortable straight sets win in his opener against Donald Young. But he trailed Fratangelo 1-3 in their ATP Head2Head series, though they hadn’t met since 2016.
Tiafoe had to find a way through after a sluggish start against his countryman, who is ranked No. 274 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. He struggled to connect on the first serve in the opening set, and was broken first as Fratangelo took a 4-2 lead.
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The eighth seed stayed solid and dialed up the aggression to take back control of the set, breaking straight back before reeling off the last four games to close it out 6-4. But he couldn’t keep up the level in the second set, and Frantangelo pounced on the lone break opportunity at 4-2 to take the match into a deciding set.
“I told myself to swing at the ball,” Tiafoe said in his on-court interview. “I was pretty tentative in the first two sets. Even though I won the first set, I was behind the baseline a lot and he was running a lot of balls down. But then I freed up a little bit, and then it worked out.”
Tiafoe roared back to life early on as he took a 2-0 lead after highlight-reel worthy, court-covering rallies to earn the first break. With the momentum on his side, Tiafoe found another level to win four of the next five games and seal his spot in the quarter-finals.
He will take on Cameron Norrie in the next round, after the British player upset third-seeded Adrian Mannarino in straight sets, 6-2 7-5. Norrie got off to a quick start with a double break to take the first set, but he was tested as the Frenchman began his comeback.
Mannarino led 3-0 in the second set, and was closing in on pushing for a third before Norrie halted his momentum, levelling at 3-3. The Brit emerged victorious after reeling off the last three games to book his quarter-final berth.
“That second set was a battle. There were some really long rallies, a lot of running. It was good to scrape through that,” Norrie said. “I think I feel more comfortable as the week’s gone on. I’m pleased with where my game’s at.”
Earlier in the day, Ecuadorian qualifier Roberto Quiroz toppled 2015 champion Ivo Karlovic, 6-2, 6-4 to reach his first ATP Tour quarter-final. The lefty won his fourth match of the year after breaking the booming Karlovic serve three times en route to victory. He will face fourth-seeded Hubert Hurkacz in the last eight.