US Open: Frances Tiafoe cruises into fourth round, ending the run of wildcard Rinky Hijikata to set up all-American clash with Ben Shelton
- Frances Tiafoe dominated the match before securing a 6-4 6-1 6-4 victory
- The American charged to within a victory of another US Open last-four showing
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Australian born Rinky Hijikata’s breakout US Open run has come to an abrupt end with a straight-sets fourth-round beating at the hands of No. 10 Frances Tiafoe.
One of last year’s semi-finalists, Tiafoe charged to within a victory of another last-four showing in New York with an impressive 6-4 6-1 6-4 victory over the Australian wildcard.
The speed of Hijikata’s serve was noticeably down from his previous three rounds and gave Tiafoe little-to-no trouble picking it off and breaking the 22-year-old six times during the two-hour encounter.
Utterly dominant, the American conceded only 13 points on his own serve in setting up a quarter-final with unseeded countryman Ben Shelton, who had earlier beaten Tommy Paul in four sets.
‘It means a lot,’ Tiafoe said. ‘He’s been quietly going through the draw and I’ve never played him before so I was definitely feeling him out in the beginning.’
American hope Frances Tiafoe won the third-round match 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 on Sunday
Australia’s Rinky Hijikata’s breakout run at the US Open was ended by No. 10 Tiafoe
‘When I broke there in the first (set), I really took off there for a while. At the end I got a bit sloppy.
‘But I’m just happy to get through and into a quarter-final at the Open.’
Hijikata’s foray to the last 16 at a grand slam for the first time earned the Sydneysider $284,000 and a rankings boost from No.110 in the world to a career-high 81st.
That puts Hijikata in line for a direct entry to the Australian Open in January and gives Australia nine men in the top 100 even without the injured Nick Kyrgios.
Only powerhouses the USA (11) and France (11) have more.
‘It’s been pretty cool to see how all the other Aussie guys and girls have been supporting me and each other,’ Hijikata said.
‘We’ve got a really good group of guys at the moment. I feel like we are all pushing each other to get better.’