Tommy Paul sets for maiden title at Stockholm Open
Two Americans were setting the line up during Friday's first seminal at Stockholm Open. World No.53 Tommy Paul held off his fellow countryman Frances Tiafoe in a three-set thriller to make his first career final. The match ended 5-7, 7-6, 6-4. Tommy has made a great appearance in Stockholm so far, defeating Sir Andy Murray at the quarter final. Paul will be meeting the winner of the all Canadian second semi-final between Felix Auger-Aliassime and the defending champion Denis Shapovalov. Whoever his opponent will be, it will be their first ATP Heads2Heads where Tommy sets for a maiden title.
Getting into the decisive part of the first set at a result 5-5, Francis Tiafoe sat for the first break point during the match. Although his fellow countryman Tommy Paul composed his game well and took out one of his powerful attributes: a strong attacking forehand, he couldn’t really hold it longer. Tiafoe made the first breakthrough during Friday's first semi-final advancing to 6-5. The 24-old Tommy Paul’s response came at a moment when Frances Tiafoe was serving for the set. Paul was closer to make a breakpoint, but Tiafoe’s powerful forehand helped him closing the first set at 7-5.
Paul entered the second set with confidence, breaking Tiafoe’s serve to a result 2-0. Tiafoe responded directly when Paul was serving for his game. The 8th seed Tiafoe made the result even in the 7th game, striking to 3-3 in just 1 min and 4 seconds. Taking each other’s serving games, the second set was decided in the most pressure-filled moment of any match, the tiebreak. In an escalating drama, Tommy Paul took the second set with 7-6. Tiafoe couldn’t hold his nerves and threw his racket out on the court.
Having the advantage from the third set, Tommy Paul showed a better composed play, holding the result to 4-2. Tiafoe responded with an aggressive offensive game and a few entertaining shots and managed to change the result to 4-5. Serving for the match, Tommy Paul closed it with 5-7, 7-6, 6-4.
If Tommy Paul continues revealing the full potential of his strong attacking forehand and solid footwork along the baseline, he can definitely claim his maiden title on Saturday.