Frances Tiafoe was one of the players to watch at this year's US Open. Felling the vibes in front of the partisan crowd, the American advanced into the first Major semi-final before falling to Carlos Alcaraz in five sets.
Tiafoie scored a massive victory over the 22-time Major winner Rafael Nadal in the fourth round, becoming the only player to topple the Spaniard at Majors in 2022! Tiafoe defeated Nadal 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in three hours and 34 minutes for a place in the quarter-final.
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 to keep the pressure on the other side.
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 force a decider.
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 broke Rafa in game seven. 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.
Frances Tiafoe defeated Rafael Nadal in four sets at the US Open.
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 American held with ease in the third set's 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.
"I have not even let it soak in yet, honestly. Those were the craziest two weeks of my life, stuff you dream about doing. I felt a bit short following that tight loss. I have reached the fourth round in New York for three consecutive years, which is already a nice accomplishment.
I'm the only player who beat Rafa Nadal at Majors this year, and he has won two titles. Beating him at Majors is never an easy task, and I did that in front of the home crowd in New York. It felt crazy," Frances Tiafoe said.