'Beating Rafael Nadal felt crazy,' Frances Tiafoe says

“Beating Rafael Nadal felt crazy,” says Frances Tiafoe

Frances Tiafoe was one of the players to watch at this year’s US Open. The American beat the mood in front of the partisan crowd and reached the first Major semifinal before losing to Carlos Alcaraz in five sets.

Tiafoie scored a massive fourth-round win over 22-time Major winner Rafael Nadal, becoming the only player to topple the Spaniard at Majors in 2022! Tiafoe defeated Nadal 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in three hours and 34 minutes to earn a place in the quarterfinals.

Frances gave it his all in a career-best win at Arthur Ashe Stadium, playing bold and aggressive tennis and earning ten points more than Rafa. The American fired 18 aces and fended off four of six break chances to keep the pressure on at the other end.

The youngster stole serve from the veteran five times from eight opportunities and improved his return after failing to break Rafa in his two games in 2019. Rafa hit 33 winners and 26 unforced errors but it wasn’t enough to force a deciding set.

Tiafoe threw everything at him and fired 49 winners and 28 unforced errors, overpowering the legend and setting the quarterfinal match against Andrey Rublev. Frances served at 44% in the opening game and nobody could tell.

He had no break points and broke Rafa in game seven. The Spaniard received a medical time-out on his wrists and upped his level in set number two, dropping just five points in five service games. Tiafoe served again at 44% and failed to keep his serve intact.

Frances Tiafoe defeated Rafael Nadal in four sets at the US Open.

After eight comfortable holds by both sides, Rafa held for 5-4 after deuce and delivered his first break in the next to end the set and level the aggregate score.

The American held with ease in the five service games of the third set, stealing the Spaniard’s serve 3-3 to forge the lead. Frances took the set at love in game ten to take a two-set-to-one lead and get a boost.

Nadal applied the final pressure in the fourth game of the fourth set to open a 3-1 lead. Tiafoe broke back in the next game, surviving break points at 2-3 and delivering another break in game seven to forge a 4-3 advantage. Staying in the game at 3-5, Rafa had nothing left in the tank, enduring the third break in a row and propelling Frances into the last eight.

“I honestly haven’t even let it sink in yet. That’s been the craziest two weeks of my life, things you dream about. I felt a little short after that narrow defeat. I’ve reached the fourth round in New York for three consecutive years, which is quite an achievement.

I’m the only player to beat Rafa Nadal in the majors this year and he’s won two titles. Beating him in the majors is never an easy task and I did it in front of my home crowd in New York. It felt crazy,” said Frances Tiafoe.

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