"This one hurts a little more than the US Open," Tiafoe on dramatic Wimbledon defeat to Alcaraz

Saturday, 06 July 2024 at 01:00
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Frances Tiafoe couldn't overcome defending champion Carlos Alcaraz at Wimbledon, despite having him on the ropes. The American was up two sets to one in the match but fell just short of victory, ultimately losing 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-7(2), 2-6.
Their last encounter had been in the semifinals of the 2022 US Open. Tiafoe had defeated Rafael Nadal and Andrey Rublev along the way, positioning himself as the local hope for an American to reclaim the home Slam title, but he fell to the impressive 18-year-old Alcaraz on his path to his first Grand Slam title.

Tiafoe falls short against Alcaraz

This time Tiafoe was close to clinching the victory but witnessed Alcaraz's resurgence in the most critical moments: "It was huge," said Tiafoe. "Me coming after one of the best players in the world and putting my game on display at the highest level, on a court I've never played on. So that definitely sparked a huge light under me."
In the fourth set with the score tied 4-4, Alcaraz faced 0-30 on his serve, a promising opportunity for Tiafoe, but the Spaniard delivered a series of big serves to avoid the break that would have allowed the American to serve for the match. "It was really important to stay there in the fourth set, for example, just to keep fighting," said Alcaraz, "to keep trying to play better in the fourth set just to give myself the chance to be alive in the match."
The fourth set extended to a tie-break, where Alcaraz dominated from the start and took the set 7-6(2). "I was a little tentative in the ‘breaker," said Tiafoe. "I wish I was swinging out on my shots a little more from the ground on the breaker. I thought I let him dictate a little too much." In the end, Alcaraz took 3 hours and 50 minutes to secure the 5-7, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2 victory.
Frances Tiafoe at the 2024 Australian Open.
Frances Tiafoe at the 2024 Australian Open.
"But I think this one hurts a little more than the Open. I feel like at the Open I was kind of hanging on for dear life. This one was more one I thought was kind of on my racquet at times. But in this situation of everything that happened before, leading in, I think this one I can honestly take confidence from and can't hang my head too low," the former world No. 10 added. "It was huge for me to be in that environment again and play a match of such high quality," Tiafoe concluded.

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