US Open 2022: Five American men who could challenge for the title
American fans are yearning for a home men’s talent to win a Slam as the season approaches the US Open 2022.
Here, Tennishead looks at five of the most likely prospects to end the nearly 20-year drought without a men’s US Open champion since Andy Roddick won there in 2003.
5. Tommy Paul
A junior Slam champion, Paul won the boys’ singles at the 2015 French Open, defeating compatriot Taylor Fritz 7-6 (7-4), 2-6, 6-2 in the final.
His best Major result came just this year at Wimbledon, reaching the fourth round before losing to eventual semi-finalist Cameron Norrie.
However, Paul has never been beyond the first round of his home Slam across four appearances in 2015, 2017, 2020 and 2021, though he did win a maiden ATP tour title in Stockholm soon after that most recent participation in New York.
4. Frances Tiafoe
Frances ‘Big Foe’ Tiafoe has been entertaining fans on the ATP tour for a number of years now, and peaked at world number 25 in May 2022.
The 24-year-old has reached the fourth round of the US Open in his last two appearances, losing to Daniil Medvedev in 2020 and Felix Auger-Aliassime in 2021, both of whom went on to the semi-finals.
Tiafoe’s best Slam result came in 2019 when he reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open before losing to eventual finalist Rafael Nadal.
3. John Isner
More than a decade older than anyone else on this list, 37-year-old Isner is still in good form as he stays ranked inside the world’s top 30.
He has twice reached the quarter-finals of the US Open, in 2011 and 2018, losing to eventual finalist Juan Martin del Potro on the latter occasion.
An ace machine, Isner will hope to be firing on all cylinders come the hard courts of New York.
2. Reilly Opelka
Another junior Slam champion, Opelka won the boys’ singles at Wimbledon in 2015 just weeks after Tommy Paul won in Paris.
Now aged 24, the towering ‘serve bot’ has four ATP tour titles to his name, all on US soil, plus a run to the final of the 2021 Canadian Masters.
2021 also saw Opelka record his best Major result, reaching the fourth round of the US Open before losing to South African Lloyd Harris.
1. Taylor Fritz
One more junior Major winner, Fritz won none other than the US Open boys’ singles back in 2015 to complete an American three-in-a-row of boys’ Slam titles that year, Fritz defeating Paul in a reverse of their French Open final.
Fritz has landed the biggest title of the men on this list, having won the Indian Wells Masters in March 2022.
He then went on to clinch his best Slam run as he made it to the quarter-finals of Wimbledon before an agonising defeat to an injured Rafael Nadal.
Fritz will be looking to build momentum on the North American hard court swing to bring the form that saw him to the last eight on the grass into the US Open.
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