Francis Tiafoe earns SHOCK win over Rafael Nadal at US Open

Frances Tiafoe earns SHOCK win over Rafael Nadal, as American advances into quarterfinal with four-set win over the World No. 3

It has taken until September, but Rafael Nadal finally lost a match at a Grand Slam in 2022 after he was dramatically bundled out of the US Open last night.

The Spanish great went the same way as Britain’s Cam Norrie, both of them being stopped in the fourth round by big-hitting opposition.

Nadal was pummeled 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-3 by America’s 22nd seed Frances Tiafoe in just over three and a half hours, dashing his hopes of extending his lead in Major titles over the absent Novak Djokovic.

After his withdrawal from Wimbledon this was his first defeat at a Slam, coming in a match which began outdoors and ended under the roof of Arthur Ashe Stadium.

It meant as of Monday night, the only Major winner left in the men’s tournament is 2014 champion, veteran Marin Cilic.

Frances Tiafoe will play in a US Open quarterfinal for the first time in his career

The result ended Rafael Nadal’s first US Open since 2019

Having dropped the first set Nadal took a ludicrously long nine-minute break off court to put some bandage on his forearms due to the excessive humidity. While he did not look in huge discomfort his serve was below par, responsible for nine double faults.

The free swinging Tiafoe reeled off the last four games after being a break down in the fourth set. Nadal is left on 22 Major titles, still one ahead of Novak Djokovic.

Nadal later denied that he was injured, although his wife has been experiencing complications in her pregnancy and has spent time in hospital.

‘I have been practicing well the week before, honestly. But then when the competition start, my level went down,’ he said. ‘For some reason, I don’t know, mental issues in terms of a lot of things happened the last couple of months.

‘Tiafoe did a lot of things well, but I didn’t do enough to create the doubts I needed to.

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Tiafoe struggled to contain his emotions after defeating the 22-time Grand Slam champ

Having dropped the first set Nadal took a nine-minute break off court to have some strapping administered to his wrist. While he did not look in huge discomfort his serve was below par, responsible for nine double faults.

The free swinging Tiafoe reeled off the last four games after being a break down in the fourth set. Nadal is left on 22 Major titles, still one ahead of Novak Djokovic, currently barred from entering the US due to his unvaccinated status.

The No. 22 Tiafoe seed earned a matchup with Nadal following another upset in the third round, as he beat No. 14 seed Diego Schwartzman.

Tiafoe now meets Russian Andrey Rublev, who ended the hopes of a deflated Norrie with a surprisingly one-sided 6-4 6-4 6-4 victory. 

The American will now look to keep his run going Wednesday night in the quarters. 

Nadal was unable to gain further control of the match after winning the second set

‘I don’t even know what to say right now,’ Tiafoe said after the match. ‘I’m beyond happy I’m almost in tears. I can’t believe I can’t believe it. 

‘He’s definitely one of the greatest of all time. You know, I played unbelievable tennis today but yeah, I really don’t know what happened.

Tiafoe is now the youngest American in a US Open quarterfinal since Andy Roddick made the last eight in 2004.

He also joined Roddick and James Blake on an exclusive list of the only Americans to ever beat Nadal at a Grand Slam.

Tiafoe’s match against No. 9 seed Rublev will be the first Open quarterfinal of the 24-year-old’s career after making his pro debut at just 16.

‘Honestly, I mean, when I first came on the scene, I felt like you know a lot of [people’s] expectations on me of how I would do and stuff like that. I wasn’t ready for it mentally,’ he said.

‘I wasn’t mature enough for those moments. In these last couple of years when when the attention hasn’t been on me I’ve been able to develop. I have a great team behind me and I’ve been putting the head down — I’m happy where I am in life in general. 

‘I’m able to just do me and do it my way and enjoy the game I love.’

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