Surprise at the US Open: Rafael Nadal, the world’s third player and four-time winner of the event, was eliminated in the round of 16, losing 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 at the hands of Francis. Tiafoe (26), Monday in New York.
The 24-year-old American, who reached this stage for the first time at Flushing Meadows, will try to do better against Russian Andrey Rublev (11th place).
The 36-year-old Spaniard will have to wait to raise his Grand Slam record to 23. He had won the Australian Open and Roland Garros in the first half, before withdrawing before his semi-final match at Wimbledon against Nick Kyrgios, due to a ruptured abdomen.
Forced out of action for six weeks – which didn’t quite support his willingness, as he was released as soon as he got into running in Cincinnati by ghost Borna Couric – does he still have the scars? Arthur Ashe?
Hard to say, because nothing in his body language betrays any sign of pain.
However, Nadal has never appeared on his plate in this match, less movement than usual and he is also less inclined to fight for all balls because he has never failed to do so. And the time he spent in the locker room, for at least nine minutes, and the eternity, after losing the first set, also raised questions.
“He played well, he did a lot of things very well. For my part, I had my chances and if I wanted to be in the quarter-finals, I had to play better than that,” said the 36-year-old Spaniard.
“You have to be ready to take the opportunities that present themselves. And I couldn’t. He knew how to do it, and he played with the right determination.”
Nadal converted only two of his six break points when Tiafoe won five out of eight.
It evaporated somewhat in the second set, as he won it by finding a bit of solidity in his game, certainly helped to wrap it up through a double fault from Tiafoe.
” I do not believe that “
But it is not enough to doubt the American, who doubled his aggressiveness in the third set. He continued his occasional dream tennis, succeeding in everything from the long backhand attack to the crossover cross shot, much to the dismay of Nadal, when counter-forehands weren’t nearly always manipulating the line, almost always on the right side.
Under the eyes of actor/director Ben Stiller, the celebrity in the midst of about 23,800 spectators excited and stunned by the scenario, Nadal recovered at the start of the fourth game, breaking his first escape 3-1. He tightened his fist of “Vamos!” “Circumstances.
But Tiafoe gritted his teeth and responded like a champion – which he certainly wasn’t yet, Major’s career best after stopping in the quarters in Melbourne in 2019 – hitting ash blocks on bricks, almost all of it, which ended in disgust for Nadal. New and the last time she was pushed for the foul, for curving at his opponent’s second match point after 3h30.
Almost K.-O. Out of joy, barely realizing the extent of his accomplishments, and certainly one of the most beautiful of his career, Tiafoe struggled to suppress tears.
“I don’t know what to say, I can’t believe it… I played tennis incredibly, and I don’t know what happened,” he said warmly, on cloud nine.
Rublev does not lag behind to advance in QF
Earlier today, Andrei Rublev, the 11th in the world, calmly qualified for the quarter-finals, by sending off Britain’s Cameron Norrie (9) 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, as it rained.
The 24-year-old Russian, who has reached this stage of the New York Grand Prix twice (2017 and 2020), will try to cross that feat against American Frances Tiafoe (26th place).
The Russian, who holds Marseille, Dubai and Belgrade titles this season, also played the quarter-finals of Majors in Australia in 2021 and at Roland Garros in 2020 and 2022. But he has never appeared in the semi-finals.
“We are still playing two and a half hours, which is a long time!”, the Russian insisted.
“It was tough… the last time (in the semi-finals in San Diego in 2021, editor’s note), he beat me and I knew very well when I walked on the field that I had to play well to get lucky,” he added.
In the next round, Rublev will face the winner of the match between 22-times defending champion Rafael Nadal and American Frances Tiafoe, scheduled for later today.
Under the roof of Louis-Armstrong closed in the middle of the second set, after the appearance of showers, Rublev made his strength speak with greater authority than in the previous round, when he won the tie-breaker in the fifth, after more than 4 hours of fighting, at the expense of Canadian Denis Shapovalov ( 21) 6-4, 2-6, 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 7-6 (10/7).
Facing Nouri, an opponent he found for the third time, after winning a match and losing his second, the Russian was diabolically realistic in the first set, taking his first chance, having improved his lone ball break at 5-4.
He then kept pressure on his opponent by stealing serve to lead 3-1, and saved the next game with a break point. Only match moment when the 27-year-old Briton pushed him for his commitment.
The third set was a carbon copy of the first two sets, although this time Rublev needed to take Nuri’s serve twice, after the latter knew how to break serve, to finish after 2:26.
Rublev Dominant vs Nuri
Great break from Rublev on the way to victory
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