US Open: Rafael Nadal loses to Frances Tiafoe and blows title dreams

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US Open: Rafael Nadal loses to Frances Tiafoe and blows title dreams

The 22-time Major champion Rafael Nadal entered the US Open fourth-round clash against Frances Tiafoe with a perfect record at Majors in 2022. The Spaniard saught the 23rd victory in a row on the most notable scene, but the home favorite had other plans.

Tiafoe toppled Nadal 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in three hours and 34 minutes for a place in the quarter-final. Thus, Tiafoe has kept his dreams of becoming the first home player with the US Open crown in 19 years alive. Frances gave his everything in a career-best victory at Arthur Ashe Stadium, playing bold and aggressive tennis and taking ten points more than Rafa.

The American blasted 18 aces and fended off four out of six break chances. On the other hand, the youngster stole the veteran's serve five times from eight opportunities, improving his return game after failing to break Rafa in their two matches in 2019.

Rafa hit 33 winners and 26 unforced errors, but it was not enough to keep him safe.

Frances Tiafoe ousted Rafael Nadal at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Tiafoe threw everything at him and fired 49 winners and 28 unforced errors, overpowering the legend and setting the quarter-final clash against Andrey Rublev.

Frances served at 44% in the opener, and no one could notice that. He faced no break points and kept the pressure on the other side. Nadal experienced a break in game seven and allowed the rival to wrap up the set with a hold at 5-4.

The Spaniard received a medical timeout on his wrists and raised his level in the second set, dropping only five points in five service games. Tiafoe served at 44% again and could not keep his serve intact. After eight commanding holds on both sides, Rafa held after deuce for 5-4 and delivered his first break in the next one to wrap up the set and level the overall score.

The returners claimed only 13 points in the third set, and Tiafoe did enough to make the crucial difference. The American held with ease in five service games and stole the Spaniard's serve at 3-3 to forge the lead. Frances clinched the set on his serve in game ten to move two sets to one in front and gain a boost.

Nadal made the one last push in the fourth set's fourth game to open a 3-1 lead. Tiafoe broke back in the next one, survived break points at 2-3 and delivered another break in game seven to gain a 4-3 advantage. Rafa served to stay in the match at 3-5 and had nothing more left in the tank, experiencing the third straight break and propelling Frances into the last eight. Nadal will become world no. 1 next Monday if Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud fail to reach the final.