Rafael Nadal is heading back home to Mallorca following the fourth-round US Open loss. Nadal ended his journey at this year's Major events with two titles and one semi-final, finishing ahead of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer for the first time.
Nadal shared a message with his fans, feeling sad for leaving New York and turning his focus to the essential family things that should come soon, with his wife expecting the first child. After that, Nadal will start practicing again, and it seems more evident that we will not see him at the upcoming Laver Cup.
Rafa scored three victories at the US Open to boost his no. 1 chances following Daniil Medvedev's loss. Still, the Spaniard failed to reach the 17th consecutive Major quarter-final after losing to Frances Tiafoe in four sets.
Rafa did not arrive at the US Open at his best, struggling with an abdominal injury since Wimbledon and playing only one match between two Majors. 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 youngster delivered his only break in the opener for a surprising lead before the veteran shifted into a higher gear and advanced with five return games on his tally. Struggling to find the rhythm behind the initial shot, Nadal did not play well in the opening 70 minutes against Fabio Fognini.
The Italian opened a 6-2, 4-2 advantage before the Spaniard took control and grabbed 16 od the last 19 games in a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 triumph. Rafa had no issues against Richard Gasquet, beating the Frenchman for the 18th time in as many encounters following a 6-0, 6-1, 7-5 win.
Nadal made his most dominant start at the US Open in the opening two sets and claimed a late break in the third to emerge at the top and move into the last 16.
Rafael Nadal leaves New York following an early US Open loss.
Seeking his 17th consecutive Major quarter-final, Rafa faced Frances Tiafoe at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday night.
Tiafoe earned his first victory over Nadal in front of his fans, delivering a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 triumph in three hours and 34 minutes for a place in the last eight. Nadal needed a medical timeout after the opening set, and he played well in the second to score one break and level the overall score.
The American grabbed a break at 3-3 in the third set and held with an ace in game ten to wrap up the set and move closer to the finish line. Nadal stayed competitive and grabbed a break at 2-1 in the fourth set. Instead of building on that, Rafa experienced three consecutive breaks and handed his rival five straight games that propelled Tiafoe over the finish line.
"I had a great time as always here in New York. I'm sad about the loss and for leaving but happy to go back home. I have to take care of important things to come and start practicing again soon. Thanks to all the amazing staff of the @newyorkpalace, it was great to be with you again. See you next year!" Rafael Nadal said.