Rafael Nadal was eliminated by Francis Tiafoe in the US Open round of 16

Rafael Nadal was eliminated by Francis Tiafoe in the US Open round of 16

Rafael Nadal was aiming to reach the 10th quarter-finals at the US Open, and will have to wait at least another year since Frances Tiafoe responded to his kindness by qualifying (6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3), for him, For the first time at this level of competition at the New York Grand Slam. And frankly, the American’s qualification has no contention as he was able to raise his level to heights we’d never seen him run so tightly before. Like Nick Kyrgios recently, Tiafoe showed a focused face throughout the match, never trying to do too much or amuse the crowd. He had a plan, attacked Nadal as much as possible, and did what was necessary to literally implement it.

On the other side of the net, Nadal was clearly lacking in juice. But his defeat did not come from there. Not only. It was indeed Tiafo who hit him. The Spaniard also showed a very focused face from the first exchanges. Obviously, he decided to attack his foot on the ground, wanting to get injured first. Unfortunately for him, his ball was lacking in weight. And despite Tiafoe’s first serve anemia (44% in the first set), Nadal failed to win the second leg.

On the contrary, it was he who was often pressured, forced to retreat immediately after resuming his support. The first break point of the match was in favor of Tiafoe. Excellent On the other hand, Nadal paid for the error and broke to advance 4-3. Nadal tried to break with all his might, but Tiafoe maintained his advantage until the end of the set.

Nadal snatches the second set but lacks legs in the third

The second group looked exactly the same as the first. Nadal could not shake Tiafoe, while he himself took a few missiles in the face. But the Spaniard will have the advantage of holding on, as always. And in the 10th game of the set, he finally managed to take Tiafoe’s serve, on a double fault from the latter. Will we witness this scenario known by heart for Nadal who is jostling but managed to turn the match in his favour because of his asceticism? Not this time.

Firstly because Nadal looked less fit in this third set. And most of all, because Tiafoe managed to raise his level even more while Nadal was in a serious slump. A long backhand streak provided a break for Tiafoe (4-3). Returning to the wall, Nadal tried to put pressure on his opponent, but he did not have the means. After a double foul of fear, Tiafoe put in two flashes of forehand and an ace to lead two groups to one.

Tiafoe is gaining momentum, Nadal stays

Nadal could have believed in a scenario close to the one that saw him take down Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open final when he was rested, assisted by Tiafoe who found himself shooting a volley within his reach. Annoyed that the roof was closed during the match, Tiafoe seemed to be about to leave the match as Nadal began to rejoice and asked for the crowd’s support. Led by 3-1, Tiafoe did not stray off course and broke his stride, perfectly fending off a lot of lag from Nadal.

Tiafo was increasingly the master of the field, striking ashes (18) at the right times. Nadal could not train him in his field and suffered from his anger. After putting out a great counter, the American earned two break points that sounded like match points. Nadal was sent off the first with a serve winner, but in the second, a backhand into the net died. Tiafoe is back in front (4-3) and won’t stop on the way. He was on one last break (the third in the group) he won and he could finally let his feelings go. Now Andrei Rublev is waiting for him.


This is Rafael Nadal’s first defeat in the Grand Slam of the season. The Spaniard, winner of the Australian Open and Roland Garros, withdrew before his Wimbledon semi-final match against Nick Kyrgios.

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