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Tommy Paul appears on the big stage at the US Open with a third-round win

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Tommy Paul had never played at Arthur Ashe Stadium and had never reached the fourth round of the US Open.

The rising American ticked both boxes on Friday.

Paul’s 6-1, 6-0, 3-6, 6-3 third-round victory over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina kept the American men’s strong showing at Flushing Meadows this year and continued his own strong streak that seemed recently been on life support. Two days earlier.

South Jersey-born Paul, who proudly sported a Philadelphia Eagles cap, lost the opening two sets to Roman Safiullin on Wednesday but battled back such a deficit for the first time in his career.

On Friday, he dominated the first two sets against No. 21 Davidovich Fokina, and shrugged off a shaky third set to close the match in the fourth.

“If you had asked me two days ago, after two sets, I would have told you that the story might be coming to an end. I’m happy to still be here,” said 26-year-old Paul. “It’s the best tournament the Americans can participate in. Obviously, on the ground, everyone is really delighted and excited about the Americans. Every time I pass in front of a TV here, I think to myself, “Is an American going to win a Grand Slam for the first time (in) 20 years?

Tommy Paul returns a volley against Alejandro Davidovich.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“You see a lot. I’m just really excited to play every game. I do things I’ve never done; I’ve never been in the fourth round of the Open, I’ve never played against Ashe, I’ve never won against Ashe. So it’s exciting for me right now. I’m really looking forward to the next game and I hope we can continue this momentum.

It would be difficult to bet against Paul, for a multitude of reasons.

Paul, seeded 14, is playing the best tennis of his career, elevating his volley game to maximize his athleticism.

He even beat Carlos Alcaraz last month at the ATP Masters 1000 Canada, prompting the world number one and reigning US Open champion to exclaim: “He’s definitely a complete player. … He is currently one of the best players in the world.

And he’s part of the resurgence in American men’s tennis, which is happening slowly but surely. Taylor Fritz is seeded ninth, Francis Tiafoe is 10th and Paul is knocking on the door of the top 10. Paul will next face fellow American Ben Shelton. Tiafoe also advanced to the fourth round with a four-set victory over Adrian Mannarino on Friday.

All of this signals an American renaissance as American men look to end a two-decade Grand Slam drought.


Tommy Paul
Tommy Paul has become a fan favorite at the tournament.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“Absolutely, there is a very healthy competition between all of us. In no way would I say jealousy between us, but we push each other with results or in practice. We will train a lot with each other and push each other throughout training,” said Paul. “When one of us does really well in a tournament, it inspires us to go and do it ourselves. I would say, yes, we all push each other to get results.

Paul also has a lucky charm. No, not his Philadelphia fit, but a 10-year-old Brooklyn fan named Eddy. He sat on the edge of Louis Armstrong’s pitch for the comeback against Safiullin, shouting his support and even his advice.

Then Paul ran up to him and gave him a jersey, a hug and an invite to Friday’s game.

And Eddy made his voice heard again – from the Ashe Stadium pitch.

“I definitely heard it. I think we bought him tickets to our box, but he ended up getting better tickets right next to the pitch,” Paul said with a laugh. “I definitely heard it. It was fun. He definitely got stronger after I lost the third, which was cool. I went to talk to him after a bit, but it’s really cool to have him here. I hope he becomes famous or something.

Paul becomes famous himself.

He was strong from both baselines, scoring 40 game winners. Davidovich Fokina had 44 unforced errors, but Paul’s play contributed to it.

He landed 15 aces, the last sending him to face Shelton.

“We know each other’s game quite well. I’m happy to see him doing well this week. It should be a fun game,” Paul said. “I think everyone is excited about both of us right now. I’m excited for this game.

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