A Tougher Year Ahead for Frances Tiafoe?

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Thursday, December 19, 2019 5:32 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019 5:32 PM UTC

Frances Tiafoe was one of the surprises of the season 11 months ago, reaching the quarterfinal of the Australian Open. But will he be able to defend all those points and be a top 40 player at the end of the 2020 season?
<div><h2>An incredible backstory</h2><p>Frances Tiafoe is a player which is tough not to root for, after learning of his circumstances and how he´s fought in order to make it to the top of the game. His mother Alpina won the green card lottery back in 1996, allowing the family to move from Sierra Leone to the United States. Life was tough and finances strained, but Frances Sr. worked furiously and landed a maintenance position at the Junior Tennis Champions Centre near Washington D.C. There, Frances Jr. lived in an office which they made a living quarters out of, and started playing tennis early. After being humbled witnessing the poverty in Sierra Leone on a visit, Tiafoe made it a goal to succeed in tennis in order to help his family flourish.</p><p>"It humbled me and made me serious. It came into my head pretty quick to use tennis as a way to help, not only myself, but our family because they have sacrificed so much."</p><p>Tiafoe would manage to do just that, showing exciting talent to win four challenger tournaments in 2016-2017, and won his maiden ATP title at Delray Beach just 20 years old last season.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;Frances Tiafoe is Mover of the Week after winning the 🏆 in Delray Beach. ⬆️&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;Read More ▶️ &lt;a href=\"https://t.co/sWVQBm1fsK\"&gt;https://t.co/sWVQBm1fsK&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://t.co/CnLgAonmHM\"&gt;pic.twitter.com/CnLgAonmHM&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— ATP Tour (@atptour) &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/atptour/status/968091126669496320?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;February 26, 2018&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt; &lt;script async src=\"https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;"}[/]</p><h2>Plenty of upside</h2><p>The 21-year old American has plenty of upside to his game, possessing plenty of power off both wings, employing an aggressive playing style in order to make use of these strengths. He´s a good mover around the court, and is a fierce competitor who rarely relents. We´ve seen Frances´ qualities bear fruit on the ATP tour after winning that maiden title in February last year. Climbing the rankings to end 2018 ranked world no. 39, the start of 2019 would be one to remember for the young talent. Tiafoe would produce one of the upsets of the Australian Open, taking down then world no. 6 Kevin Anderson in the second round as a 4.81 underdog. He would follow up that with another two underdog wins, one marginal against the wily veteran Andreas Seppi, and one larger against former world no. 3 Grigor Dimitrov. All of a sudden, the 21-year old had reached a maiden Major quarterfinal, and though his run ended at the hands of Rafael Nadal, it was one worth remembering.</p><p>However, ever since that triumph, and the impressive performance to reach the Miami Masters quarterfinal, the new world no. 30 fell off the map. While that isn´t all that unusual for a young and upcoming player, Tiafoe was unable to make it to the quarterfinals in any tournament that wasn´t at the ATP 250 level - ending the year with a 23-27 record and 1050 ranking points. Outside of those two deep runs, the American actually went 16-25 for the season. Both marks are worse than the year prior, where he went 28-27 for 1080 ranking points, and his year end 39 ranking in 2018 dropped to year end 47 in 2019.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;If you don't already know Frances Tiafoe's backstory, this is worth the watch. The young American came from behind to stun the No. 5 seed at the Australian Open yesterday&lt;a href=\"https://t.co/G6IXCb4Ptx\"&gt;https://t.co/G6IXCb4Ptx&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— Cam Koubek (@cameron_koubek) &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/cameron_koubek/status/1085597073519595520?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;January 16, 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt; &lt;script async src=\"https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;"}[/]</p><h2>2020 projections</h2><p>While Frances Tiafoe has a lot of upside and future potential, he is still young, inconsistent and relatively inexperienced. Even with two huge runs in prestigious tournaments, ranking wise the year was worse than the last, and even then he barely made the top 40. Now, Tiafoe has to defend those points. At the Australian Open, he´s defending a whopping 360 points, more than a third of his ranking points, and it´s highly unlikely he manages to repeat last year´s quarterfinal appearance. Failure to get past the first round would mean an immediate drop to around world no. 77, a second round defeat no. 76, a third round defeat no. 71 and a fourth round defeat equals around world no. 63.</p><p>A substantial ranking drop would appear imminent. That in turn means tougher draws and less opportunities to earn big ranking points going forward. Failure to defend the 180 quarterfinal points only two months later in Miami would add on to the misery. With so much tough competition, and the significant drop off in form in the latter half of 2019, combined with worse draws and working from behind - that Tiafoe would better his year end 2019 ranking of world no. 47 in 2020 doesn´t feel realistic. With Unibet offering a whopping 1.95 on Tiafoe missing the top 40 next season, that offers significant value and is worth a heavy investment.</p><p><strong>Best bet: Frances Tiafoe Top 40 - No in 2020 at 1.95 (19/20) with [<a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&amp;a=4fd3c129-b898-4816-9a61-9f7e8f34295a&amp;f=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="A+ Rated Bookmaker!">Unibet</a>] 2.5u</strong></p><p><strong><a href="http://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=164&amp;a=f339dce1-88de-4994-ab6a-c24e019bdf3b&amp;f=3"><img alt src="https://cmscdn.staticcache.org/assets/image/0003/1348572/WHC_27064_Updated-In-Play-Tennis-Insurance_1280x480NEW.jpg" style="width:100%;height:38px" /></a></strong></p></div>
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