Terrific Tiafoe shocks Nadal to reach US Open quarter-finals

Jonathan Davies in US Open 05 Sep 2022
Tiafoe claimed a huge scalp by denying Nadal on Ashe (UPI/Alamy Live News)

Rafael Nadal crashed out of the US Open after going down in four sets against Frances Tiafoe in the fourth round on Monday.

The 22-time Grand Slam winner, who has already captured the Australian Open and French Open this season, was ousted 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 as inspired home favourite Tiafoe inflicted a first defeat major defeat on the Spaniard in 2022.

Four-time champion Nadal was aiming for a record-equalling fifth triumph at Flushing Meadows this year, which would have moved him level with Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer.

However, he came unstuck by the 24-year-old, who became the first American to reach the US Open last eight since John Isner in 2018 – and youngest since Andy Roddick 12 years earlier.

Nadal had dropped the opening set in his victories over Rinky Hijikata and Fabio Fognini earlier this week, and followed suit as 22nd seed Tiafoe broke in game seven on the way to drawing first blood on Arthur Ashe.

Seeking a 10th quarter-final appearance in the Big Apple, the Spaniard had only suffered one defeat in his previous 22 matches against American opponents since October 2017; losing out to Taylor Fritz in the Indian Wells final earlier this term.

He responded to level and end Tiafoe’s streak of 10 successive sets on the way to reaching round four for the third year running.

But the home favourite – and last remaining American in the men’s draw – was not affected. Inspired by an electric atmosphere on Ashe, he broke again to regain the lead.

Nadal then broke early in the fourth for a 3-1 advantage, but Tiafoe was not to be denied. Indeed, he won the next five games to seal a remarkable victory.

His reward is a quarter-final showdown with Andrey Rublev, who is into the last eight in New York for the third time after defeating Cameron Norrie 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

Meanwhile, Iga Swiatek recovered from dropping her first set of the tournament to see off Wimbledon quarter-finalist Jule Niemeier 2-6, 6-4, 6-0.

The top seed is through to the last eight for the first time after denying the world number 108, who was making her maiden main-draw appearance at Flushing Meadows.

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