Rafael Nadal entered the US Open fourth-round clash against Frances Tiafoe with 22 consecutive Major victories this season. Rafa could not pass Frances and extend his streak, losing in four sets and hitting the exit door. Thus, Nadal ended his notable streak of 16 Major quarter-finals in a row, never losing before the last eight since the 2017 US Open.
Rafa stands fifth on the list with the most consecutive Major quarter-finals, missing a chance to move closer to Andy Murray, who had 18 between 2011 and 2015. The Spaniard lost an incredible clash against Gilles Muller in the Wimbledon fourth round in 2017, falling 15-13 in the decider after almost five hours.
Nadal bounced back at the US Open two months later, starting his streak and reaching a quarter-final at every Major for nearly five years. Rafa did not arrive at the current US Open at his best, struggling with an abdominal injury and playing only one match after withdrawing from Wimbledon.
Rafael Nadal failed to reach the 17th consecutive Major quarter-final.
Nadal kicked off his 16th US Open with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 triumph over world no. 198 Rinky Hijikata. The veteran sealed the deal in three hours and eight minutes after losing the opener.
Hijikata made an excellent start but could not keep that level in sets two, three and four. Nadal broke him five times from ten opportunities to emerge at the top and move into the second round. Rafa made another slow start against Fabio Fognini in the second round before prevailing 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 in two hours and 43 minutes.
The Italian led 6-2, 4-2 after 68 minutes before Rafa shifted into a higher gear and claimed 16 of the final 19 games to seal the deal in under three hours and preserve energy. Nadal played better behind the first and second serve and took 24 points more than Fognini.
Fabio claimed 40% of the return points and delivered six breaks of serve. The Spaniard responded with over half of the return points on his tally. He converted nine out of 14 opportunities to control the pace in the final 100 minutes and move into the next round.
Rafa reached the last 16 for the 12th time in New York following a 6-0, 6-1, 7-5 win over his old rival Richard Gasquet. Nadal defended six out of seven break points and mounted the pressure on the other side. Rafa hit 35 winners and 23 unforced errors, claiming over half of the return points and turning them into seven breaks from 15 opportunities.
Nadal could not pass his first real test in New York, falling to Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 at Arthur Ashe Stadium in three hours and 34 minutes. Nadal needed a medical timeout after the opening set, and he could not force a decider despite giving his everything in the fourth set.
Frances played aggressive tennis and remained composed in the decisive moments to deliver the most notable victory in his career. The American saved four out of six break points and fired 18 aces. Tiafoe broke Nadal five times to control the result and advance into the first quarter-final in front of the home fans.