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Who Was the Last African-American to Reach the US Open Semifinals?

Published 09/09/2022, 5:50 AM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

Frances Tiafoe made history on Wednesday by beating Russian Andrey Rublev in the US Open quarterfinals. He extended his impressive run at Flushing Meadows with a 7-6 (3) 7-6 (0) 6-4 historic win over the Russian.

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Tiafoe, the American tennis player of Sierra Leonean origin, became the first African-American since a legendary player who made it to the semi-finals in 1972.


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Who was the first African-American man to reach the semi-finals in Flushing Meadows?

Tennis legend, Arthur Ashe, overcame racial obstacles and discrimination to become the first African-American man to win the US Open, Australian Open, and Wimbledon. He was the first African-American player to be selected to represent the United States in the Davis Cup in 1963. During his ten years as a tennis player for the United States, he helped the country win five championships.

His first major tournament appearance came at the U.S. Nationals in 1959. Ashe reached the US Open finals in 1972 but lost to Ilie Năstase in a thrilling match in which Năstase overcame a 2-1 set deficit to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-7, 6-4, 6-3.


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‘I Got You Bro’- Serena Williams Replies as Frances Tiafoe Asks for GOAT Present

The American was far more than a legendary tennis player. He was also a social activist, author, mentor, and dedicated campaigner for racial equality and civil rights, not only in the United States but around the world. Especially against South Africa’s apartheid systems.

Frances Tiafoe and his impressive run at the US Open


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The American tennis player is in excellent form at the US Open and maintained his momentum against some of the best players in the event. He is putting on some fiery performances to win his matches at Flushing Meadows.

He started the tournament by defeating his countryman Marcos Giron. Then he went to beat Jason Kubler in the second round of the US Open. He knocked out the Argentine, Diego Schwartzman 7-6, 6-4, 6-4. In the fourth round of the US Open on Monday, Tiafoe defeated the Spaniard Rafael Nadal, winning arguably the greatest match of his career. The American received thunderous applause from the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd after his massive victory against Nadal.

In the US Open quarterfinals, the American star made history by defeating Russian Andrey Rublev 7-6(3) 7-6(0) 6-4. Tiafoe, the American tennis player of Sierra Leonean descent, made history. He became the first African-American to reach the US Open semifinals since tennis legend Arthur Ashe in 1972.


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With the victory over the Russian tennis player, Tiafoe advanced to the semi-finals and will face Carlos Alcaraz for a spot in the US Open final.

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Written by:

Anurag Gusain


One take at a time

Anurag Gusain is a Tennis Author at EssentiallySports. He has completed his Bachelor’s degree in English from Delhi College of Arts and Commerce, Delhi University. Being a huge tennis fan, he enjoys watching Rafa Nadal play.
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Edited by:

Tony Thomas