Coco Gauff, the 19-year-old American sensation, has advanced to the quarter-finals of the US Open after a convincing win over Mirra Andreeva. But she is not the only one who is making waves at Flushing Meadows. Two of her friends and compatriots, Ben Shelton and Frances Tiafoe, are also in the last eight of the men’s singles and will face each other in a historic match.
Gauff revealed in her post-match press conference on Sunday that the trash talk has begun between Shelton and Tiafoe, who are both people of colour and have known each other since childhood. She said that they were in the warmup area after her match and started to tease each other about their outfits and their chances of winning.
“Obviously the conversation, they already started the trash talk. I’m indifferent who wins, but I did say that Frances is a little bit upset because I said Ben had the better outfit than him,” Gauff said.
Shelton and Tiafoe to make history on Arthur Ashe
Shelton, 23, and Tiafoe, 25, are both having breakthrough runs at the US Open this year. Shelton, who is ranked No. 55 in the world, stunned world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round in four sets. He became the first American man to reach the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam since John Isner at Wimbledon in 2018.
Tiafoe, who is ranked No. 50, defeated world No. 6 Andrey Rublev in five sets in the fourth round. He reached his second Grand Slam quarter-final after making it to the same stage at the Australian Open in 2019.
The clash between Shelton and Tiafoe will be their first meeting on the ATP Tour. It will also be the first time that two American men of colour will face each other in a Grand Slam quarter-final. The winner will become the first American man to reach the semi-finals of the US Open since Andy Roddick in 2006.
“It’s going to be a great atmosphere, I think great representation for people of colour, right? Two people of colour playing in the quarter-finals, huge match on Arthur Ashe. It’s a pretty monumental moment,” Tiafoe said.
Gauff hopes for more American success
Gauff, who is ranked No. 23 in the world, is also making history as the youngest American woman to reach the quarter-finals of the US Open since Serena Williams in 1999. She defeated Andreeva, a 16-year-old rising star from Russia, in straight sets 6-3 6-2 on Monday.
Gauff is among the favourites in a wide-open women’s field at Flushing Meadows and this convincing win would have laid down a warning to the rest of the field. She has been on brilliant form coming into the last Grand Slam of the season and won her third title of the year at the Western & Southern Open in her last outing before the US Open.
She will face world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty in the quarter-finals on Wednesday. Barty is the only top-10 player left in the women’s draw and has won two Grand Slam titles this year.
Gauff said she was happy to see so many Americans doing well at their home major. There are three American men in the last eight of the US Open for the first time since 2005 and there will be at least two American women in the quarter-finals, too.
“It’s really exciting tennis for America. I hope that the fans are excited, are as happy with it,” Gauff said.