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Tiafoe steals the show in Bublik circus act

LONDON: American 23rd seed Frances Tiafoe kept his focus in the face of an Alexander Bublik circus act on Friday 2785666 to reach the Wimbledon fourth round for the first time.

The 24-year-old punched the air with delight as a Bublik double-fault sealed a 3-6 7-6(1) 7-6(3) 6-4 victory in front an enthralled audience on Court Two.

Kazakhstan's Bublik is one of the great entertainers in men's tennis - a rival to Nick Kyrgios in terms of trick shots but without the scowls and controversy.

Bublik held the upper hand when he took the opening set but Tiafoe stuck manfully to his task and won the second on a tiebreak before doing the same in the third.

Bublik appeared to have thrown in the towel when trailing 3-0 in the fourth but it was just a ruse.

The world number 38 delivered virtually every first serve under arm in the following game and when most of them failed to land in the box he followed up with 130mph second serves.

There was also pure genius from Bublik, including a no-look drop shot and scorching baseline winners, and he miraculously retrieved a lob to win a magical rally and break serve, before squaring the set at 4-4 with a booming ace.

Tiafoe looked in danger of being suckered in to the Bublik sideshow when he faced a break point at 4-4 but the American banged down an ace and held with a drop shot reply to a Bublik serve return drop shot, getting a clap from his opponent.

The crowd wanted the match to go on, such was the level of entertainment, but Bublik could not hold.

He left the court smiling and to huge cheers, while Tiafoe can now look forward to a more conventional test against either David Goffin or Ugo Umbert.

Tiafoe is only the third active American male player to reach the fourth round at a Grand Slam on four occasions, the others being John Isner and Sam Querrey.

Source: Reuters


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