American giant killer Frances Tiafoe sparked a ‘never-before-seen’ moment at Melbourne Park after an epic five-set triumph in the third round.
The 20-year-old American beat 34-year-old Andreas Seppi 6-7 (3), 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 on Court 3, where matches began more than two hours late because of morning rain.
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Tiafoe came from two sets to one down to charge into the fourth round, marking his first appearance at the Round of 16 stage at any Grand Slam.
The popular American has a vocal army of fans that were on hand to see the marathon clash with Seppi and the roar was deafening when he eventually won.
If there was a roof over Melbourne Park’s Show Court 3 it would have almost been blown off after Tiafoe’s massive forehand winner sealed another memorable victory.
Commentator Peter Macato made the astonishing concession that it was the most raucous cheer he’d ever witnessed for an overseas player at the Australian Open.
“I have not heard a roar that big, or that sort of reception for a player who’s not Australian,” he said.
“We’ve seen so many great players come through here but that was something else.”
The No. 39-ranked Tiafoe beat fifth-seeded Kevin Anderson in four sets in the second round, following it up with a biceps-slapping celebration that sent fans wild.
He will next play 20th-seeded Grigor Dimitrov, who beat Thomas Fabbiano 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4 earlier on Friday.
The American had a few choice words of warning for the Bulgarian, ahead of their fourth round showdown.
“He’s got three matches under his belt and so do I,” Tiafoe said of the Bulgarian.
“I’m going after him.”