The 25-year-old Frances Tiafoe is yet to compete at the Monte Carlo Masters! World no. 11 decided to skip this year’s edition of the clay-court event, winning his second ATP title in Houston on Sunday after a busy weekend and resting before entering Barcelona.
Frances is 19-5 this season, making a perfect start at the United Cup and almost cracking the top-10. Tiafoe lost to his compatriots in Dallas and Acapulco before reaching the Indian Wells semi-final and pushing Daniil Medvedev to the limits.
The American lost that one in two tight sets before experiencing an early Miami loss. Tiafoe was the top seed in Houston for the first time in a career, winning four matches in straight sets and lifting his first ATP title in over five years!
The rain plagued the action during the opening days in Houston, and the organizers gave their best to finish the event on Sunday. Frances played his opening matches on Saturday, beating Steve Johnson and Jason Kubler to enter the last four.
The home favorite embraced two encounters on Sunday, defeating Gijs Brouwer 6-4, 6-1 and setting the title clash against the Argentine Tomas Martin Etcheverry a few hours later. Two rivals pushed each other to the limits from start to finish during the night session, and Tiafoe grabbed a 7-6, 7-6 victory in an hour and 53 minutes for his first ATP title since Delray Beach 2018!
Frances won 15 points more than his rival and prevailed in the pivotal moments to lift a much-needing trophy. They scored only one break each and remained neck and neck for almost two hours.
Frances Tiafoe withdrew from this week’s Monte Carlo Masters.
Etcheverry came from 5-3 down in the second set and moved two points away from winning it in the tie break. However, it was not to be for him, as Tiafoe sealed the deal to celebrate the title and become world no. 11 for the first time in a career.
Tomas Martin held in the opener’s eighth game after a couple of deuces to lock the result at 4-4. The Argentine served to stay in the set at 4-5 and blasted an ace down the T line for a vital hold. They introduced a tie break, and Frances grabbed an early mini-break before forcing the rival’s error in the fourth point for 3-1.
A backhand winner at the net pushed the American further in front, and he landed another from behind the baseline for 5-1. A backhand return winner propelled Frances 6-1 ahead, and he seized the first set point with an ace for 7-6 and a boost.
The American scored the first break at love with a backhand down the line winner at 2-2 to forge the lead. He served well in games six and eight to move 5-3 up and serve for the title at 5-4. Tomas Martin created his first break chances.
He seized the second after Frances’ loose backhand to pull the break back and increase the drama at the last moment. The set went into a tie break, and the Argentine moved 5-3 in front. The American bounced back and rattled off three straight points to gain a 6-5 lead and create a match point after an extended rally.
Etcheverry saved it with a forehand down the line winner before facing the second at 6-7. Frances fired an ace in the 14th point to seal the deal and start a massive celebration of his second ATP title.