Rafael Nadal has been a dominant force at Majors against opponents from the greatest tennis nation. Rafa is 31-3 versus the Americans at the four most notable tournaments, including 27 consecutive victories! Taylor Fritz failed to end Nadal's streak at Wimbledon despite giving his 120%, and his compatriot Frances Tiafoe took care of that in front of his fans a couple of days ago.
Tiafoe toppled Nadal 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 at Arthur Ashe Stadium in the US Open fourth round, becoming the first American with a Major win over the Spaniard in 17 years! Rafa lost his 2004 US Open clash to Andy Roddick before falling to James Blake at the same event a year later.
Nadal had been an unsolved riddle for the Americans at Majors for 17 years, beating them 27 times before Tiafoe ended his US Open campaign before the quarter-final. Frances sealed the deal in three hours and 34 minutes, playing aggressive tennis and overpowering Rafa when it mattered the most.
Rafael Nadal lost a Major matches against the American after 17 years.
The home star cracked 49 winners and 28 unforced errors and delivered five breaks that carried him over the top. Nadal grabbed only two breaks, not enough to force a decider despite leading 3-1 in the fourth set.
Despite serving at 44%, Frances' serve was not in danger in the opening set. He broke Rafa in the seventh game and wrapped up the set with a volley winner in game ten for 6-4. Nadal took a medical timeout ahead of the second set and raised his level.
He gave away five points in his games and produced his first break of the match at 5-4 after the rival's double fault to secure the set 6-4 and improve his chances. Tiafoe bounced back in set number three, serving well and keeping the pressure on the other side.
The American placed a backhand down the line winner in the seventh game to move in front and fired an ace at 5-4 to clinch the set and gain a massive boost. Ready to fight until the end, the Spaniard landed a forehand crosscourt winner in the fourth set's fourth game to create a 3-1 lead, hoping to keep that pace and force a decider.
Frances pulled the break back in the next one and saved two break points in game six to lock the result at 3-3. Rafa netted a backhand in game seven to get broken and find himself near the exit door. Tiafoe grabbed the eighth game with his 18th ace and delivered the third consecutive break at 5-3 to celebrate his most notable victory in a career.