MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — Frances Tiafoe has advanced to the fourth round at Melbourne Park, his first appearance in the Round of 16 at any Grand Slam.
The 20-year-old American from Riverdale in Prince George’s County beat 34-year-old Andreas Seppi, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, on Court 3, where matches began 2 1/2 hours late because of morning rain.
The No. 39-ranked Tiafoe, an alumnus of the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, beat fifth-seeded Kevin Anderson in four sets in the second round, and followed it up with a biceps-slapping celebration that drew plenty of attention.
He will next play 20th-seeded Grigor Dimitrov, who beat Thomas Fabbiano, 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4, earlier Friday.
After his win, Tiafoe paid homage to LeBron James by copying the four-time NBA MVP's “Silencer” — raising his knees and pushing his palm-down hands toward the ground. He also had yanked off his shirt before doing that move.
After his previous victory, a second-round upset of two-time major finalist Kevin Anderson, Tiafoe mimicked another James celebration by flexing his right biceps and slapping it five times with his left hand.
“Be interesting to see if [other players] want to try them. Just trying to bring something to tennis,” said Tiafoe, who turns 21 on Sunday.
He said his post-match choreography is not premeditated. It just sort of happens.
“If I get a chance to do it on a big court, big situation, you've got to bring it up,” he said. “I don't know what celebration I'm going to do. I got a lot of them that I know.”