2019 Australian Open: Frances Tiafoe stuns Kevin Anderson in four sets
Tiafoe celebrates after his upset of Anderson/Photo: Paul Crock/Getty Images

2019 Australian Open: Frances Tiafoe stuns Kevin Anderson in four sets

The American was a set and a break down before staging a magnificent comeback to record the biggest victory of his career.

john-lupo
John Lupo

The biggest upset on the men's side of the Australian Open was caused by American Frances Tiafoe as the 20-year old knocked off fifth seed Kevin Anderson 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 on Margaret Court Arena.

Tiafoe had lost all three previous meetings against the South African and it looked like it would be four from four trailing by a set and 3-0 in the second before turning around their second-round clash.

The American broke a six-match losing streak against top ten opponents dating back to last February and he will face Italian veteran Andreas Seppi in the third round.

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Anderson gets off to quick start in first set and a half

Anderson was quick off the mark, holding and earning a break point on Tiafoe's first service game only to see the American erase it with an ace to hold and make the score 1-1. It was the world number 39's turn to see a break point, but as he had done, saw it vanish with an ace.

Neither player had another look at a break chance until the tenth game with Anderson leading 5-4. After wasting a game point, Tiafoe was faced with a set point against him and a backhand crosscourt winner from the fifth game gave him the opening set.

Again, it was the South African off to a fast start in the second set, holding to love and getting to 0-40 on the American's serve. After dumping a backhand into the net, Anderson drove a forehand down the line for a winner and a 2-0 lead. He saved a break point in his next service game to extend his advantage to 3-0.

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Tiafoe turns things around to level the match

The turning point in the match came when Tiafoe dug out a hold after being pushed to 30-30 on his serve and holding two break points in Anderson's next service game, he drilled a forehand and finished off the point with an overhead smash to get back on serve at 3-2.

Again, both men enjoyed a spell of easy service games until Anderson faced four break points in the ninth game. After saving the first three, he flubbed a backhand, sending it into the bottom of the net to give Tiafoe his first lead of the match at 5-4.

Serving for the set, the American blasted an ace to get to 40-0 and after another deep, powerful forehand that Anderson could only make a futile attempt to return with one hand, the match, which seemed to be under control by the South African, was suddenly one set all.

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American grabs two sets to one lead

It was Tiafoe applying early pressure to begin the third set, holding a break point before Anderson used his forehand to climb his way out of trouble and post an opening hold. He was quickly ahead 40-0 only to see the American win six straight points, capped off when the fifth seed missed a backhand volley to give Tiafoe a 2-1 lead.

The world number 39 began to settle into a nice serving rhythm, holding with more ease and mixed up his plays, utilizing his backhand to great effect. Another weak forehand by the South African off of a strong serve put Tiafoe a game away from the third set at 5-3.

Anderson held to make it 5-4 and Tiafoe stepped up to serve for the set. At 30-15, the American fired an ace to bring up two set points and after shoveling a backhand crosscourt for a winner, the world number 39 held a two sets to one lead, on the verge of the biggest win of his career.

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World number 39 claims memorable upset

The start of the fourth set saw Tiafoe create a break opportunity right away with another blistering forehand winner. Anderson eventually took advantage of some conservative returning by the American to hold on for 1-1.

Again, both men were settling into a nice serving rhythm, neither player coming close to a break for the majority of the set. Leading 4-3, the South African had a half-chance at 30-30, but more clutch serving got Tiafoe out of trouble and he held for 4-4.

Each competitor held to love to make the score 5-5. The decisive game came next with the world number 39 showing his touch, throwing in drop shots and volleys while staying aggressive. It paid off as Anderson double-faulted on break point to give Tiafoe a 6-5 lead.

Serving for the match, the American fell behind 15-40. After saving the first break point, he ripped a backhand winner, capping a 17-ball rally to get back to deuce. Two points later, Tiafoe played his first serve-and-volley point of the match to seal a memorable victory in two hours, 56 minutes.

"It means the world to me", Tiafoe said after the match. "I lost to Kevin three times last year. I was down a set and a break today. I went to a different place. I dug deep. It's just how bad you wanted it, and I wanted it bad".

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