Frances Tiafoe signs to play Houston 2020

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Frances Tiafoe signs to play Houston 2020

The U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship stands as one of the oldest active tournaments in the world, kicking off in Omaha way back in 1910 and keeping the status of the last North American ATP tournament staged on clay. The event had changed numerous locations in the following decades before it settled in Indianapolis between 1969-1987, finding its home in Houston in 2001 and staying there ever since at the beautiful River Oaks Country Club, with the new complex completed in March 2009.

Some high-quality players have fought for the title since it became a part of the official ATP Tour in 1970, with Manuel Orantes, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Mats Wilander, Andre Agassi, Michael Chang, Jim Courrier, Andy Roddick, John Isner and Tommy Haas among the champions.

The Americans claimed five out of eight titles on the fast clay in Houston between 2011-18 (Ryan Sweeting, John Isner, Jack Sock and Steve Johnson) and their most promising youngsters were always there to battle for the ATP wins and points, including Reilly Opelka, Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul, Taylor Fritz, Jared Donaldson, Ernesto Escobedo, Stefan Kozlov, Noah Rubin and Mackenzie McDonald.

Back in April, there were no American players in the title match, with Cristian Garin toppling the Norwegian Casper Ruud 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 for the first ATP title after some very entertaining encounters and the top four seeds beaten in the second round to leave the doors wide open.

The organizers have already signed the first name for 2020 edition that will take in the second week of April, with Frances Tiafoe returning to the River Oaks Country Club for the fourth time. World no. 45 had made a debut in Houston in 2016 with a wild card, losing to Matthew Barton in the first round and failing to grab a win in 2017 as well when Thomas Bellucci defeated him in three sets.

In 2018, Tiafoe earned the first triumph in Houston, beating Mackenzie McDonald before losing to an eventual champion Steve Johnson in straight sets, skipping the event in 2019 and setting to make a return next spring.