- Frances Tiafoe, seeded 22 defeated Rafael Nadal at the US Open 2022 to advance to the quarterfinals.
- Tiafoe’s victory ended Nadal’s string of 17 consecutive major tournaments in which he advanced past the quarterfinals.
- NBA star LeBron James hurled praises at Taifoe, congratulating him on Tiwtter.
In the fourth round of the U.S. Open on Monday, American Frances Tiafoe defeated second seed Rafael Nadal 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-3 by playing the match of his life.
Nadal was defeated in a major for the first time this year, and he had been vying for a record-extending 23rd Grand Slam victory. Tiafoe broke Nadal for a fifth time to record possibly the tournament’s biggest upset. He lapped up the enthusiasm from a roaring crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium while covering his face with his hands.
Tiafoe seeded 22, couldn’t contain his joy in an on-court interview. He said, “I don’t even know what to say right now; I’m beyond happy; I’m almost in tears.”
Tiafoe admitted Nadal to be the greatest of all time and said that he could not believe that he (Tiafoe) had ousted him (Nadal).
While Tiafoe did play outstanding tennis, he also benefited from Nadal’s uncharacteristically subpar serving and returns. Compared to Tiafoe’s 48 winners, the Spaniard struck just 33 winners and nine double faults.
Tiafoe’s victory ended Nadal’s string of 17 consecutive major tournaments in which he advanced past the quarterfinals. The Spaniard won the Australian and French Opens this year before pulling out of his Wimbledon semifinal due to an abdominal issue.
After the game, Nadal offered no justifications for his performance in New York’s oppressive humidity. Here are Nadal’s post-match comments “I can find excuses, but for me, it’s simple: when you don’t play at the level that you should… you can’t win; My opponent was the better player.”
Tiafoe, 24, of Sierra Leonean descent and was born in Maryland, started playing tennis. At the same time, his father was a custodian at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in a suburb of Washington, DC.
He wore a hoodie with a list of Serena Williams’ 23 Grand Slam victories on the back after the match. The pioneering Williams most likely competed in the competition’s final game of her career last week.
Even though Tiafoe had never won a set against Nadal in their two previous encounters, he broke for a 4-3 advantage in the opening set and won it with a simple volley.
Before the second set, which Nadal won after Tiafoe double faulted by the narrowest of margins to tie the match, it took Nadal almost 10 minutes to change his outfit and tape up his hands off the court.
In the third set, Tiafoe energised the audience by creating a breakpoint and rewarding them with a backhand winner down the line for a 4-3 lead that made him race to his chair. When Tiafoe was broken in the fourth set, Nadal began to show signs of life. Tiafoe had earlier protested to the chair umpire about the sound of the roof closed for rain when he was serving.
However, Tiafoe broke Nadal again in the last game when the Spaniard threw a backhand into the net to secure the improbable triumph. Tiafoe had previously broken Nadal on a weak service game from Nadal.
NBA star LeBron James took to his Twitter handle to congratulate the young gun of Tennis, “CONGRATS, Young King!!! You earned it!”.