American Frances Tiafoe knocks out Rafael Nadal: in major US Open upset in 4th round

American Frances Tiafoe knocks out Rafael Nadal

American Frances Tiafoe knocks out Rafael Nadal: in major US Open upset in 4th round

New York: American Francis Tiafoe played the match of his life to beat second seed Rafa Nadal 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 6-3 in the fourth round of the US Open on Monday.
This year marks the first time Nadal, chasing a 23rd Grand Slam title, has been beaten in a major.
Tiafoe covered his face with his hands as he soaked up the cheers from a packed house at Arthur Ashe Stadium after breaking Nadal for the fifth time to claim the biggest upset of the tournament.

American Frances Tiafoe knocks out Rafael Nadal: in major US Open upset in 4th round

While Tiafoe did indeed play great tennis, he also benefited from an unusually weak serve and return performance from Nadal.
The Spaniard committed nine double faults and only 33 winners to Tiafoe’s 48. With the win, Tiafoe snapped Nadal’s streak of 17 majors in which he reached the quarter-finals or better.

American Frances Tiafoe knocks out Rafael Nadal: in major US Open upset in 4th round

The Spaniard won the Australian and French Opens this year before withdrawing with an abdominal injury before his semi-final at Wimbledon.
After the match, Nadal made no excuses for his performance in New York’s suffocating humidity.

American Frances Tiafoe knocks out Rafael Nadal: in major US Open upset in 4th round

(CNN)Twenty-two-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal was upset in the fourth round of the US Open on Monday by American Frances Tiafoe at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, New York.

In a match that lasted more than 3 hours and 30 minutes, the Maryland native defeated Nadal 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Tiafoe, 24, is the youngest American man to get this far in the US Open since a then-24-year-old Andy Roddick was a finalist in 2006.
“It was definitely one hell of a performance,” he said following the match. “I played really well today. Yeah, I guess, I mean, I just came out there and I just believed I could do it. It helps I played him a couple times.”
Earlier in the tournament, Tiafoe said he was happy to be going mostly unnoticed.
Frances Tiafoe unites tennis stars in protest but feels some people don't want black players to succeed
Frances Tiafoe unites tennis stars in protest but feels some people don’t want black players to succeed
After his win Monday, he expressed joy for what his victory against Nadal meant to his parents, who immigrated to the United States from Sierra Leone.

American Frances Tiafoe knocks out Rafael Nadal: in major US Open upset in 4th round

“I just had a big passion for the game. Not even mainly for me, but to do it for them. To see them experience me beat Rafa Nadal, they’ve seen me have big wins, but to beat those Mount Rushmore guys, for them, I can’t imagine what was going through their heads.
“Yeah, I mean, they’re going to remember today for the rest of their lives.”
Nadal, 36, recorded his first loss in a grand slam event this year and is now 22-1 this season. The Spaniard won the Australian Open and French Open before withdrawing from Wimbledon in July before his scheduled semifinal showdown with Australian Nick Kyrgios.
“The difference is easy,” Nadal said afterward. “I played a bad match and he played a good match. At the end that’s it, no?”
Nadal said Tiafoe played more solidly than in previous matches between the two, served well, had good backhands and was quick.
“But I don’t think I pushed him enough to create him the doubts that I need to create,” he said. “Of course, he did the things well. If not, he will not win, without a doubt. Congrats to him.”
Nadal said he needs to “fix things” and when he feels mentally ready to compete again, he will, but he is unsure about the timetable.

American Frances Tiafoe knocks out Rafael Nadal: in major US Open upset in 4th roundTop seed Daniil Medvedev beaten by Nick Kyrgios at US Open
Top seed Daniil Medvedev beaten by Nick Kyrgios at US Open
Tiafoe will face Andrey Rublev of Russia in a quarterfinal on Wednesday.
The US Open men’s singles final is scheduled for Sunday.

American Frances Tiafoe knocks out Rafael Nadal: in major US Open upset in 4th round

Tiafoe’s parents met in the United States, where they would have twins, Franklin and Frances.
Their father signed on as a day laborer at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in 1999 in College Park.
While working around the clock, his father was forced to move into a vacant storage room at the tennis center, where his two boys would stay with him, sleeping there, while their mother worked night shifts as a nurse. Tiafoe picked up the sport, getting to play at the center for free, and fell in love with the sport.
Tiafoe previously said that while his family didn’t grow up wealthy, he wouldn’t change anything.
On Monday he told reporters: “Us being around tennis was kind of gets us getting out of our neighborhood. My dad kind of being able to watch us. It wasn’t anything supposed to be like this. Once we got in the game of tennis, it was like my dad was like, It would be awesome if you guys can use this as a full scholarship to school. I mean, we couldn’t afford a university.”

How did Tiafoe create attacking opportunities?

Tiafoe significantly changed how he constructed points when in baseline rallies. On his way to the fourth round, Tiafoe opted for the safer tactic of hitting the vast majority of shots cross-court in the same direction the ball came from.

American Frances Tiafoe knocks out Rafael Nadal: in major US Open upset in 4th round

Today, Tiafoe played with more risk. Tiafoe made a tactical change, choosing to change the direction of the ball from cross-court to down-the-line with far higher frequency.

Frances Tiafoe:

Rounds 1, 2, 3
Forehand line 30%
Backhand line: 15%

Against Nadal
Forehand line: 41%
Backhand line: 51%

Executing this higher-risk tactic was one of the key reasons why Tiafoe was able to dominate the In Attack battle against one of the greatest players of all time.

Will Tiafoe maintain this tactical change when he takes on Andrey Rublev for a spot in the semifinal?

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