2 African Americans Tiafoe, Shelton in showdown at US Open today

Tiafoe v Shelton

Tiafoe v Shelton

Frances Tiafoe and Ben Shelton, two African Americans will slug it out at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in the U.S. Open quarter-finals on Tuesday.

The showdown between the duo marks the first time in 15 years – since James Blake played Donald Young in the 2008 first round – that two Black American men will face off in the world’s largest tennis venue.

They will also be playing in a stadium named after an African American icon, who fought for racial equality.

Tuesday’s contest will also be the first time that two Black American men have been in the quarter-finals of the hardcourt major at the same time, another sign of progress in a historically white sport.

Tiafoe, in particular, has emerged as a flag bearer for the American fans, beloved for his extraordinary skills but also his charismatic personality and larger-than-life showmanship on the court.

The moment is certainly not lost on 25 year-old Tiafoe, who a year ago made history as the first Black American man to reach the semi-finals at Flushing since Ashe in 1972.

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“It’s going to be a great atmosphere, I think great representation for people of colour, right?” he told reporters.

“Two people of colour playing in the quarter-finals, huge match on Arthur Ashe. It’s a pretty monumental moment.”

Ben Shelton, a left hander is just 20 years old.

He qualified for the second time in his career for the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam, beating fellow American Tommy Paul 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 on Sunday.

Shelton leads the US Open with 62 aces and has hit by far the fastest serves.

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