4 Black American Tennis Players Reach U.S. Open Quarterfinals For First Time Since 1968

4 Black American Tennis Players Reach U.S. Open Quarterfinals For First Time Since 1968 | Sarah Stier / Sarah Stier / Robert Prange / Elsa
4 Black American Tennis Players Reach U.S. Open Quarterfinals For First Time Since 1968 | Sarah Stier / Sarah Stier / Robert Prange / Elsa
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

For the first time since 1968, four Black Americans will be competing in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament. Coco Gauff, Frances Tiafoe, Madison Keys and Ben Shelton are all looking to win their first career title.

Gauff advanced to her first-ever US Open semifinals on Tuesday with a commanding 6-0, 6-2 victory against Jelena Ostapenko. She’s the first American teen to reach the semifinals since Serena Williams in 2001, ESPN reported.

Keys will go against Czech player Markéta Vondroušová during Wednesday’s quarterfinals.

Finally, Tiafoe and Shelton will compete against each other during the men’s quarterfinal match at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Tuesday. The match will mark the first time two Black American men will play against one another since 2008, according to Reuters.

“It’s going to be a great atmosphere, I think, great representation for people of color, right?” Tiafoe told reporters, according to the wire outlet. “Two people of color playing in the quarterfinals, huge match on Arthur Ashe. It’s a pretty monumental moment.” 

Last year, Tiafoe also made history as the first Black American man to reach the semi-finals at Flushing since 1972.

Gauff has been garnering attention from fans and the press alike since she started competing in this year’s U.S. Open. Last week, she became vocal about her frustration with the pace imposed by her opponent, German player Laura Siegemund. Gauff went up several times to the chair umpire and concluded the match with a win.

She has credited Venus and Serena Williams for inspiring her to advocate for herself and for being unafraid to show her emotions on the court.

“I love that she always elevates herself,” Gauff said of Serena Williams during the 2022 U.S. Open Media Day, according to Insider. “Sometimes being a woman, a Black woman in the world, you settle for less. I feel like Serena taught me that, from watching her, she never settled for less. I can’t remember a moment in her career or life that she settled for less.”