May 17th, 2017

Orlando’s Tiafoe Wins French Challenger, Moves Into #NextGen Top 3

General News Pro Tennis

Orlando teen Frances Tiafoe moved to a career-high No. 65 on the ATP rankings and increased his chances of qualifying for the ATP World Tour’s inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals when he won the $127,000 Aix en Provence Challenger in France on Sunday, defeating No. 3 seed Jeremy Chardy of France 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(5) in the final.

It was his second consecutive Challenger-level tournament win following the Sarasota Challenger last month. He improved to 2-0 in USTA Pro Circuit finals this year and a 5-7 win-loss in finals since 2015.

His best tour-level results this year were at the Australian Open where he qualified and won a round, losing to Alexander Zverev in three sets, and at the Miami Open where he qualified and won a round before falling to Roger Federer 7-6(2), 6-3.

In the semifinals the No. 4-seeded Tiafoe beat unseeded American Reilly Opelka 6-4, 6-3, and the No. 3-seeded Chardy handled Portugal’s Pedro Sousa 6-4, 6-1.

The 30-year-old Chardy reached a career-high No. 25 on the ATP rankings in 2013. He is 12-11 this year in ATP-level matches, and won his lone ATP singles title in 2009 at Stuttgart on clay.

The Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, Italy, on Nov. 7-11, 2017 will feature the top players age 21-and-under on the ATP rankings. The ATP’s Race to Milan standings document the Top 7 players who will qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals, along with one wild card. Tiafoe’s win moves him to No. 3 on the standings behind No. 1 Zverev and No. 2 Borna Coric. Ernesto Escobedo is the only other American in the Top 7 on the standings, while Americans Jared Donaldson, Taylor Fritz and Noah Ruben are in the Top 15 of the standings.

“Tiafoe is an Orlando resident and trained at the USTA National Campus prior to the clay-court season,” said Dan Pyser of USTA corporate communications. “He was one of a number of American pros who utilized the state-of-the-art red clay courts at the national campus to prepare for the famed European surface.”

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