In a Match Between American Next Gen’s, Ernesto Escobedo Defeats Frances Tiafoe at the BNP Paribas Open
(March 9, 2018) INDIAN WELLS TENNIS GARDEN – In a battle between two ATP World Tour “Next Gen’s” No. 117 Ernesto Escobedo defeated No. 64 Frances Tiafoe 7-5, 6-3 to reach the second round of the BNP Paribas Open on Friday on Stadium One.
Escobedo felt the key to the match was to serve well. “He’s a great returner. He moves well. Every chance that I had, I just had to go for it.”
Although this is the first time the two men have ever faced each other on the main level of the ATP World Tour, the 21-year-old Escobedo won both times he played the 20-year-old Tiafoe on the Challenger circuit in 2016.
For Escobedo who is from the Loss Angeles area, this is a homecoming of sorts playing for the first time in Indian Wells with family in the stands.
“My family sacrificed so much for me, especially, like, my dad. I mean, he would take off time from work just to be with me on the court. So I’m really grateful for that.
“And, I mean, playing here, I mean, I feel like I’m doing him a favor, as well, because he, like, gave me so much. And it’s time for me to, like, pay him back.”
The win was a special birthday gift for his coach, former pro tennis player Peter Lucassen.
Without him, I wouldn’t be here,” Escobedo said after the match. “I mean, it’s his birthday today. He just turned 30. I’m guessing he’s, like, pretty happy right now.”
“Feels pretty good, playing here, Indian Wells, close to home,” Escobedo added. “I mean, like my parents were here, a couple of my friends, and, yeah, I mean, it’s a great place to play tennis.
“There are so many guys under 21 in the top 100, but I’m not worried about that. I’m just focused on myself. And I feel like — I mean, if I do it in two years, three years, or tomorrow, I mean, it’s just a journey, like, of getting there. I feel like it’s the most important part for me.”
Seeing Tiafoe win his first career title in Delray Beach last month gives Escobedo encouragement. “Tiafoe is a great player. He’s going to have an amazing career. To see him do that, that’s awesome for him. I was really happy for him, as well, his first ATP. And I feel like the way that I’m going now, I feel like I could be there soon.”
Escobedo whose career high ranking came last July at No. 67 has been up and down these past two years.
“I finished last year pretty bad. I was in a tough situation. I wasn’t winning. I wasn’t enjoying it for a little bit. But, I mean, it was my first year on the tour, like, a full schedule on the tour, so then I learned so much.
“But I just really committed to myself that in the off-season, that day in, day out, I’m going to give it all my best. Now it’s paying off, I guess.”
Escobedo came into the tournament with more confidence after taking down Top Ten Player Jack Sock in Acapulco and reaching the final eight.
“That was a great win,” he said. “It was amazing. I was playing good. Like, my whole family was there, as well. Playing him, he’s been playing well. He’s like top 10 in the world. I just felt like the best challenge for me to beating him was just going for it and just being super-aggressive.
“I mean, I have been working super hard lately, so I guess it’s paying off.”
Next round the unseeded American will take on the 28th seed Feliciano Lopez of Spain.