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Tiafoe vs Johnson Showdown In Houston

Houston quarterfinal Frances Tiafoe vs Steve Johnson is going to be clash of two American titans on differing career trajectories

The 33 year old ranked 152 is desperately trying to save his career against the no. 2 American ranked 15 now.

The two have played each other twice before. First match was in Houston 2018, also round of 16, with Johnson, at the height of his career, prevailing 63 64 against the then 20 year old. Johnson, who had saved a match point in the first round vs Escobedo, ended up beating Isner, Fritz and then Tennys Sandgren 76 26 64 in the final.

Three years later they clashed again in the first round of Roland Garros and Tiafoe won the first two sets but ultimately fell 76 63 46 26 16.

Now Johnson and Tiafoe are at different points now. Johnson, a wildcard entrant, has lost his last six matches and is no longer sponsored by Yonex. Tiafoe has become a popular marketing machine, with new super agent Jill Smoller bringing him contracts with Cadillac and Stella Artois in the last month. Big Foe has won one career ATP title so far, Johnson has won four, his last was in Newport in 2018.

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  • Cory · April 7, 2023 at 11:06 am

    Been looking forward to this since what Wednesday? Will they ever play? I remember one WTA tourney maybe 5-8 years ago in Dubai or somewhere near the middle east, where there was like 3-4 days of relentless rain … i cannot remember how they remedied it, probably moving it indoors off-site, but even still, had to play probably 4-5 rounds in 2 days? Cannot recall. Can you recall unique circumstances to any tourneys, like playing into Tuesday of the following week, e.g.?

    Johnson really needs this win. He had lost 3 straight matches – oddly all against Nuno Borges – 2 qualifying rounds and then faced him AGAIN as a LL. Must’ve been a nightmare. Johnson not really thought of as a clay guy IMO but he does have that great slice game so it helps. Tiafoe should be able to boss him around laterally for a W but you never know with Foe, he’s not exactly reliable. I’ll go with Johnson at 4-to-1 odds, he’s selling cheap right now.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 7, 2023 at 11:48 am

    Cory, Johnson won Houston title on red clay so he’s a champion of clay, he beat Sandgren in a marathon final, back when Sandgren was at his best. Sandgren really should have been a Grand Slam semifinalist, had he converted ONE of those seven MPs vs Federer at AO QF. Johnson is desperate. Wonder if Tiafoe is on the player list to play Monte Carlo? If he is, he may subconsciously tank to Johnson. Remember the US Open that one year it rained like four days in a row but it was middle of the tournament and they still got it done. If this Houston rain keeps up another day or two, this tournament could be abandoned. I think it has happened before, at least doubles finals have. It’s something rarely discussed because it rarely happens.



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