American Frances Tiafoe stunned four-time champion Rafael Nadal 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 on Monday at the US Open to reach his second Grand Slam quarter-final.
The pumped-up 24-year-old played fearlessly throughout the three-hour, 31-minute thriller on Arthur Ashe Stadium to earn his third Top 5 win.
Tiafoe hammered the ball off both wings and rallied from a break down in the fourth set to become the first American man to reach the last eight in New York since John Isner in 2
Tiafoe had never won a set against Nadal and trailed the Spaniard 0-2 in their ATP Head2Head series prior to their meeting in New York.
However, the American struck 49 winners to turn the tables in style, gaining revenge for his quarter-final defeat at the Australian Open in 2019.
“At 4-3 [in the fourth set], when I went up 40/0, my legs were like cement,” Tiafoe said. “I just needed to get out of the game and then pray to god that I don’t have to se
I was lucky enough to get out of that game. I came out not giving Rafa all the respect. I came out to win a tennis match if front of you guys.”
The 22nd seed will next play Andrey Rublev after the ninth seed downed Briton Cameron Norrie 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 on Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Nadal was chasing his fifth title in New York and a record-extending 23rd Grand Slam crown this fortnight.
The 36-year-old, who won the first two majors of the year at the Australian Open and Roland Garros, is currently No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.