US Open Day 3: Tommy Paul shows heart in an epic five-set win
Aug 31, 2023
As a fan of tennis players from Florida, there was a lot to like on Day 3 at the US Open. Highlights included some easy wins for Delray Beach-based Coco Gauff and former Florida Gator Ben Shelton. But the match of the day appeared to be a rollercoaster of a comeback from Boca Raton-based Tommy Paul.
What happened? Paul started the match completely off his game — spraying his forehand all over the place. He couldn't find any rhythm. His opponent, Russian Roman Safiullan, was cold as ice. No emotion. With a deadly game. Quickly, Paul fell behind dropping the first two sets 3-6, 2-6.
Then, between the second and third sets, he stepped away to collect himself. He kicked off the third set energized: serve-and-volley games, bigger forehands, and much more consistency. The hometown crowd really began to feed off his energy.
As he pumped his fists after big points, the crowd began to cheer, "Tommy, Tommy, Tommy!" Or, "USA, USA, USA!" But the Russian wasn't fazed. He remained rock solid.
It was time for Paul to dig deep. Really deep. It was a sight to behold as Paul played some truly inspired tennis. He pulled out the remaining three sets, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3, to advance to the third round.
It was a thrill to watch. When Paul won the match, he beat his fist to his heart to celebrate. He was raw with emotion. Then he did something unexpected. A small boy in the front row kept trying to fire up the crowd with chants: "Let's go Tommy, let's go Tommy," and, as a result, the crowd created quite a roar.
Tommy Paul remembered that. So he ran over to the little boy, gave him a hug, and gifted him a T-shirt as a sincere thank you for pumping up the crowd. It was a heartwarming moment. The fans loved it. And this little boy absolutely beamed with pride.
Meanwhile, we all learned something special about the player that took down an unstoppable Russian on Day 3 of the US Open and (somehow) keeps on beating Carlos Alcaraz on the tour.
Tommy Paul has heart.