Rafael Nadal loses to Frances Tiafoe in a thrilling last-16 match at the US Open in New York
Rafael Nadal was defeated by Frances Tiafoe 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-3 to go to the US Open quarterfinals for the first time; Nadal seemed to be struggling with the abdominal ailment that caused him to quit from his Wimbledon semifinal in July.
Rafael Nadal’s ambitions of earning a third Grand Slam championship in 2022 were dashed when Frances Tiafoe of the United States defeated him in four sets at the US Open.
Although plainly hindered by the abdominal strain that prompted him to withdraw before his Wimbledon semi-final in July, Nadal, who was going for a record-extending 23rd Grand Slam championship, displayed his trademark tenacity to provide an electrifying spectacle on Arthur Ashe Court.
The American battled back from a break down in the fourth set to secure a 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-3 triumph in three hours and 33 minutes, but Tiafoe’s shotmaking proved to be too much for the Spaniard to handle.
After reaching the last eight at the Australian Open in 2019, Tiafoe advances to just his second Grand Slam quarterfinal of his career. He will next play Andrey Rublev after the Russian defeated British No. 1 Cameron Norrie in straight sets earlier on Monday.
“I’m so ecstatic that I’m on the verge of tears. In his post-game interview, Tiafoe said, “I can’t believe it. “He’s unquestionably among the best of all time. I played incredible tennis today, but I have no idea what went wrong.
I came out to win a tennis match in front of you guys, not to give Rafa all the respect.
Nadal, who won the Australian Open and French Open earlier this year, had struggled through the first three rounds in New York to extend his Grand Slam winning streak to 22 matches, despite having played just one match before to the US Open after his Wimbledon withdrawal.
Given that the Spaniard is now set to compete in the Laver Cup in London later this month, it is uncertain whether he will play again this year given the magnitude of his obvious physical struggles during Monday’s defeat.
All the feels 🙌
— ATP Tour (@atptour) September 5, 2022
Nadal declared, “I’m going to attempt to psychologically prepare myself. “I’ll be there once I feel like I’m ready to compete once more.
“Tennis is a positional sport. You must be extremely young and swift.
I was unable to cause the harm I once did.
The 36-year-serve old’s continued to be off pace and he seemed to only be at ease sending it into Tiafoe’s backhand, continuing his poor play from the first rounds at Flushing Meadows.
All of the years of hard work for this moment. 🥲 pic.twitter.com/2EJgDfNbj8
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 5, 2022
The entire match was intensely competitive despite Nadal’s obvious lack of flow; Tiafoe won the opening set 6-4 by capitalising on his only break point.
After taking a medical break at the conclusion of the first set, Nadal returned to the court and started playing more aggressively. He eventually struck as Tiafoe served to stay in the match at 4-5.
Tiafoe refused to let his intensity slip, and with encouragement from a crowd that included many fans of both players, he once again broke at 3-3 to take the lead before twice holding serve to retake it.
In order to prevent a repeat of the drama that occurred earlier in the day when a damp court caused a 45-minute delay, tournament management decided to close the roof of the Arthur Ashe Stadium as clouds began to gather.
The decision was made to continue play rather than wait for the roof to close for five minutes, and Tiafoe was broken to give Nadal a 3-1 lead. This may have been due to the changing weather circumstances.
The American, who was obviously enraged, directed a diatribe at umpire Carlos Bernardes and received an audible obscenity warning as a result.
However, Tiafoe soon regained his focus and raced off five straight games, including three consecutive breaks of service, to seal a victory, becoming the youngest American to go to the quarterfinals of the US Open since Andy Roddick reached the championship match in 2006.
The 24-year-old stated, “When I initially entered the scene, I felt like a lot of people had a lot of expectations of how I would do and stuff like that. “I wasn’t prepared for it; I wasn’t mentally mature enough for those circumstances. Over the past several years, when the focus hasn’t been on me, I’ve been able to grow.
“I’ve been working hard with the support of a terrific team. In general, I’m content with my life as it is. I can be myself, do things my way, and play the game I love.”