The Sports Report: Quite a night for Frances Tiafoe
Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.
From Helene Elliott: Frances Tiafoe’s parents left war-torn Sierra Leone for a better life in the United States. His mother, Alphina, was a nurse and often worked two jobs. Frances Sr. became a day laborer on a crew building the Junior Tennis Champions Center, a training complex and school in College Park, Md. His diligence won him a full-time place as the center’s custodian.
Go beyond the scoreboard
Get the latest on L.A.'s teams in the daily Sports Report newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.
With that job came a spare room where he could nap between shifts. He’d bring his twin sons, Frances and Franklin, to sleep there when Alphina worked nights. Both boys played tennis because they were surrounded by it, but young Frances lived and breathed it from the beginning.
It’s good to be reminded that the American dream isn’t a faded myth. It’s alive and well and will be represented in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open thanks to young Frances, now 24. His commanding 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 upset of 22-time Grand Slam singles champion and No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal on Monday was the high point of the family’s hopes, and there could be even better to come.
The end of the reign of Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic has long been anticipated, but they’ve hung on past 35 — past 40 for Federer, who plans to return next month after knee surgery. With this win Tiafoe moved toward the front of the line of would-be dragon slayers.
“For a while there, I was like, geez. You see all these young guys get Rafa, Fed, Novak. Am I ever going to be able to say I beat one of them? Today I was like, no, I’m going to do that,” he said.
“So now, it’s something to tell the kids, the grandkids, Yeah, I beat Rafa. Hopefully I never play him again, but hope I end with a win,” he added, with a smile.
Enjoying this newsletter? Consider subscribing to the Los Angeles Times
Your support helps us deliver the news that matters most. Become a subscriber.
From Jack Harris: Walker Buehler awoke after surgery last month, received the news he had been quietly bracing to hear, then put himself back in a familiar state of mind.
For the second time in his career, the Dodgers pitcher had to undergo Tommy John surgery, when damage to his ulnar collateral ligament was discovered and repaired during a season-ending elbow operation on Aug. 23.
He didn’t receive the official diagnosis until he had woken up from the anesthetics, since pre-surgery MRI exams hadn’t been able to clearly determine the full extent of an elbow injury that’d kept him off a mound since June.
Yet he had been preparing himself for the worst-case scenario anyway, knowing that in addition to a flexor tendon repair, a full reconstruction of his UCL was possible.
“I just felt that was important for me going under anesthesia and knowing what I was going to come out with,” Buehler said. “I didn’t really want to be surprised.”
While the Dodgers opened a series against the San Francisco Giants on Monday with a 7-4 loss, Buehler is already looking to the long road ahead.
From Sarah Valenzuela: When Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani step to the plate any given night, fans anticipate a show.
A single that somehow finds its way into a gap, a long double or triple that looks like it will go the distance, a home run that, right off the bat sounds like it’s gone. There’s no mistaking what the two are capable of.
It’s why they both have multiple All-Star selections and at least one American League most valuable player award. (Trout has three, Ohtani is in the running for a second consecutive one this season.)
And Ohtani and Trout have been wowing fans all season with impressive numbers and exciting big hits. On Monday, in the Angels 10-0 win over the Detroit Tigers, that’s exactly what they got.
Of the ten runs scored on the night, the two sluggers combined to score six of them.
From Gary Klein: The incident occurred two weeks ago at a joint practice, not in a game, so Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald is preparing without restraint for the season opener against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night at SoFi Stadium.
On Monday, Donald answered questions from beat reporters for the first time since an Aug. 25 brawl between the Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals that ended the second of two joint practices between last season’s Super Bowl opponents.
A video of the melee shows a helmet being swung. The video also shows Donald falling to the ground with a Bengals helmet in hand.
The NFL charges teams with responsibility for disciplining, or not disciplining, players for their actions at practices. Rams coach Sean McVay has said that Donald was disciplined internally but offered no other details.
“I’m happy nobody got hurt in the practice and whatever but my main focus is Thursday night against Buffalo,” Donald said.
Donald acknowledged that swinging helmets could create a dangerous situation.
“For sure,” he said. “Everybody protected each other, everybody got out of the situation clean, healthy — that’s what mattered.”
From Jeff Miller: He opened his latest session with reporters by answering one of the first questions thusly: “I don’t like to talk a lot.”
He concluded the gathering a few minutes later by declaring, “I don’t like talking too much.”
Luckily for the Chargers, they didn’t trade for Khalil Mack to talk but rather to do — do the things that have made him a three-time All-Pro and six-time Pro Bowl selection, a star to align opposite their other star on the edge, Joey Bosa.
Together, they are expected to form the pillars of a rebuilt defense that will be just as vital in determining this team’s fate as any magic twirled by the right arm of Justin Herbert.
The Chargers missing the playoffs in 2021 had nothing to do with their young and immensely talented quarterback. Despite the shrieking protests that still echo, their failure had nothing to do with Brandon Staley’s fourth-down decisions, either.
The Chargers missed the playoffs last season because their defense wasn’t good enough at stopping the other team from running the ball or turning third down into first down.
From Ben Bolch: One by one, UCLA coach Chip Kelly called the six players to the front of the meeting room.
Josiah Norwood. Alex Johnson. Carson Schwesinger. Jack Landherr IV. Nicholas Barr-Mira. Dovid Magna.
Come on down.
Some of the UCLA veterans had seen this sort of thing before and knew where it was headed. Senior offensive lineman Jon Gaines II stood up in excited anticipation.
All the players were walk-ons. By the time Kelly was done talking, they had something new in common.
They wouldn’t have to pay any more tuition. They were now on scholarship.
“That was a really awesome moment,” Norwood said of the announcement near the end of training camp.
From Kevin Baxter: Yon de Luisa was wearing a bright green Mexican national team polo shirt and an even brighter smile when he entered Banc of California Stadium on Monday, less than two hours before El Tri’s women’s team beat Angel City 2-0 in an exhibition.
He hardly looked like a man carrying the weight of his country’s World Cup hopes on his shoulders. But then looks can be deceiving. As the embattled president of Mexico’s soccer federation, De Luisa is taking criticism from all sides — not all of it deserved — less than three months before his woefully underperforming men’s team is scheduled to kick off in Qatar.
Mexico’s coach, Tata Martino, picks the team’s roster and the playing style, and he hasn’t done a good job with either lately. Club owners in the country’s top domestic leagues have final say over the agenda and control the purse strings. De Luisa is left to clean up the mess and explain how it happened.
And lately he’s had a lot to answer for with the federation in crisis, having lost its identity and its way at the worst time.
THIS DATE IN SPORTS
1920 — Jack Dempsey knocks out Billy Miske in the third round to retain the world heavyweight title. It’s the first radio broadcast of a prizefight.
1920 — Bill Tilden wins his first of seven U.S. Open men’s singles titles, defeating Bill Johnston, 6-1, 1-6, 7-5, 5-7, 6-3, at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, N.Y.
1941 — Bobby Riggs beats Frank Kovacs in four sets to win the men’s title in the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association championships. Sarah Palfrey Cooke wins the women’s title with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Pauline Betz.
1948 — The United States sweeps Australia 5-0 to retain the Davis Cup title.
1975 — Chris Evert wins her first of six singles titles in the U.S. Open with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, victory over Evonne Goolagong. In the men’s semifinals, Manuel Orantes performs one of the great comebacks in tennis history, saving five match points to defeat Guillermo Vilas, 4-6, 1-6, 6-2, 7-5, 6-4, after trailing two-sets-to-love and 0-5 in the fourth set.
1980 — Chris Evert Lloyd beats Hana Mandlikova of Czechoslovakia to win her fifth U.S. Open singles title in the last six years.
1980 — John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors battle in perhaps their greatest U.S. Open match. McEnroe edges Connors in the semifinal, 6-4, 5-7, 0-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3) in front of a packed Louis Armstrong Stadium.
1991 — A pair of teenagers play a level of tennis beyond their years in a women’s semifinal match at the U.S. Open. Seventeen-year-old Monica Seles beats 15-year-old Jennifer Capriati, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (3) to advance to her first U.S. Open final.
1992 — Noureddine Morceli of Algeria smashes the world record for 1,500 meters, clocking 3:28.86 at an international track and field meet in Rieti, Italy. Morceli breaks the record of 3:29.46 set by Said Aouita of Morocco in 1985.
1993 — Helena Sukova of the Czech Republic beats Martina Navratilova 7-5, 6-4 to advance to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open. Navratilova’s loss leaves the United States without a women’s quarterfinalist for the first time in the tournament’s history, dating to 1887.
1995 — Cal Ripken plays in his 2,131st consecutive major league game to surpass Lou Gehrig’s 56-year record. Ripken receives a 22-minute standing ovation and later hits a homer in Baltimore’s 4-2 win over the Angels.
2003 — In the U.S. Open, No. 2 Justine Henin-Hardenne wins the all-Belgian women’s singles final, beating No. 1 Kim Clijsters, 7-5, 6-1.
2017 — CoCo Vandeweghe becomes the third American to get into the U.S. Open women’s semifinals, beating top-seeded Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (4), 6-3. Madison Keys completes the sweep for American women, giving the host country all four U.S. Open semifinal spots for the first time in 36 years. The 15th-seeded Keys takes 69 minutes for a 6-3, 6-3 victory over 418th-ranked qualifier Kaia Kanepi of Estonia. The Americans haven’t had all four semifinalists at the U.S. Open since 1981, when Tracy Austin beat Martina Navratilova for the title. Chris Evert and Barbara Potter also made the semifinals.
2017 — FIFA orders that a World Cup qualifier between South Africa and Senegal be replayed after the referee is found guilty of match manipulation and banned for life. South Africa beat Senegal 2-1 in the qualifier last November, helped by a penalty awarded by Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey for a nonexistent handball.
Compiled by the Associated Press
Cal Ripken Jr. sets the consecutive games played record. Watch and listen here.
Get our high school sports newsletter
Prep Rally is devoted to the SoCal high school sports experience, bringing you scores, stories and a behind-the-scenes look at what makes prep sports so popular.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.