He had never passed the round of 16 at the US Open and even less taken a set from Rafael Nadal. Last night, Frances Tiafoe doubled down by eliminating the Spaniard in the round of 16 (6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3).
In the absence of Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and after Sunday’s elimination of world No.1 and defending champion Daniil Medvedev, Rafael Nadal was favorite to win a 5th Major at Flushing Meadows and bring his record of Grand Prix titles to 23. Slam.
But he fell on a Tiafoe (26th in the world) who played the match of his life when he himself regretted not having been able to play his best tennis.
Nadal only converted two of the six break points he got when Tiafoe won five of eight.
Originally from Sierra Leone, Frances Tiafoe had reached the quarters in Australia in 2019.
“I don’t know what to say, I don’t believe it… I played incredible tennis, I don’t know what happened,” he confided, over a cloud, before leave the Arthur-Ashe court where the feat and the ovation of the public had clouded his eyes.
It is he who will face the Russian Andrey Rublev (11th) for a place in the semis.
At 24, he will attempt for the sixth time to climb into the last four of a Grand Slam tournament, his third attempt in New York.