Frances Tiafoe vs Rafael Nadal: US Open fourth round upset US Grand Slam champion


22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal was beaten by American Francis Tiafoe in the fourth round of the U.S. Open at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, New York, on Monday.

The Marylander beat Nadal 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in a match that lasted more than three hours and 30 minutes.

Tiafoe, 24, is the youngest U.S. man to do so at the U.S. Open since Andy Roddick, 24, reached the final in 2006.

“It was an absolute hell of a show,” he said after the game. “I played really well today. Yeah, I think, I mean, I just came out and I just believed I could do it. It helped me play him a few times.”

Earlier in the game, Tiafoe said he was happy to be ignored most of the time.

After Monday’s victory, he expressed delight at what the victory over Nadal meant to his parents, who immigrated to the United States from Sierra Leone.

“I’m just passionate about the game. Not even mainly for me, but for them. Seeing them go through me beating Rafa Nadal, they’re seeing me win big, but beating those Rushmores Mountain guys, for them, I can’t imagine what’s going on in their heads.

“Yes, I mean, they will remember today for the rest of their lives.”

Nadal, 36, lost his first major championship this year and is 22-1 on the season. The Spaniard won the Australian Open and French Open before withdrawing from Wimbledon in July before a scheduled semifinal matchup with Australian Nick Kyrgios.

“The difference is simple,” Nadal said later. “I played a bad game and he played a good game. That’s it in the end, right?”

Nadal said Thiafoe had played more solidly than before in the pair’s previous match, served well, had a good backhand and was fast.

“But I don’t think I pressured him enough to create the doubt I needed to create,” he said. “Of course he did a good job. If not, he wouldn’t have won, no doubt about it. Congrats to him.”

Nadal said he needs to “solve the problem” and when he feels mentally ready to play again, he will, but he’s not sure about the timeline.

Thiafo will face Russia’s Andrei Rublev in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

The U.S. Open men’s singles final is scheduled for Sunday.

Tiafoe’s parents met in the United States, where they would give birth to twins Franklin and Frances.

In 1999, their father signed on as a temporary worker at the Junior Tennis Championship Center in College Park.

While working around the clock, his father was forced to move into a vacant storage room at the tennis centre, where his two sons would sleep with him while their mother worked the night shift as a nurse. Tiafoe took up the sport, played at the center for free, and fell in love with it.

Tiafoe has previously said that while his family is not wealthy, he won’t change anything.

He told reporters on Monday: “We kind of get us out of our community by being around tennis. My dad kind of gets to watch us. It shouldn’t be like that. Once we start playing tennis, like my dad, if you guys can take it As a full scholarship to the school, that would be awesome. I mean, we can’t afford college.”

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