“My serve is the biggest difference” – Tiafoe puts on serving clinic against Stricker in Wimbledon second round

Frances Tiafoe has credited the work he’s done on his serve over the past year as a key to his dominant performance against Dominic Stricker in the second round of Wimbledon 2023

Frances Tiafoe - (c) Fotoarena / Panoramic Frances Tiafoe – (c) Fotoarena / Panoramic

Frances Tiafoe has been working on his serve over the past 12 months, and it certainly reaped dividends in the second round of Wimbledon on Thursday.

Tiafoe navigated a tricky 7-6 (11), 6-4, 6-2 win over Switzerland’s Dominic Stricker to book a third round encounter with grass court maestro Grigor Dimitrov. While the big hitting American played a clean match, striking 48 winners to 23 unforced errors over the course of two hours on Court 12, it was his serve that stood out by far.

“It’s the one shot you have control over” – Tiafoe

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Frances Tiafoe explained that he’s been investing heavily in this area of his game recently.

“My serve is the biggest difference,” said Tiafoe. “Just getting myself out of trouble. Ace counts high. Sometimes my percentage is not high but ace count’s always been pretty good. That’s been something that’s been helping me a lot.”

Tiafoe emphasised that he’s always felt comfortable with his ground stroke game, but is particularly happy to have beefed up the strength of his serving.

With the American sending down a blistering 23 aces on the slick London grass against Stricker, he brings to mind another big serving American that has graced the courts of Wimbledon over the past decade.

“Continue to serve well and I’ll be all right.”

Tiafoe happy to be through to third round

Speaking on his performance against world No 117 Dominic Stricker, Frances Tiafoe expressed relief at surviving what he felt was a difficult match.

“I didn’t play great in the first set. I didn’t play great in the first set at all. I thought I served well.

“But, I mean, he was tough. He was really ripping the ball. It’s hard when you haven’t played a guy. I didn’t have much to really scout with him, as well. It was hard. But he had a great serve.”

The first set was a pivotal moment explained Tiafoe, as he was able to take that momentum and run away with the match.

“I think that first set was huge. I loosened up a lot. I started swinging more out on the ball, moving him around a bit more.

“But yeah, it’s tough. I don’t want to be out there playing longer matches if I don’t have to. Those first sets are huge for me.”

“Now is when it starts getting interesting” – Tiafoe ready for Dimitrov challenge

Into the third round of Wimbledon, Frances Tiafoe will now face an old rival, Grigor Dimitrov.

The American is relishing the opportunity to reignite their head-to-head, speaking excitedly of the upcoming clash:

“I haven’t played him since Australian Open. That was an absolute war. We get along really well. He’s super talented as well. He’s made semifinals here. It’s going to be a good match.

“Now is when it starts getting interesting. Everybody is good. Everyone is tough. You start playing the best players in the world. This is where it gets fun.

“Yeah, this is where I really get excited and really want to play. Yeah, I mean, two talented guys going at it. See what happens.”

Should Tiafoe defeat Dimitrov, he would set a potential round of 16 match against world No 6 Holger Rune, in what would be a blockbusting encounter between two natural entertainers.

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