Frances Tiafoe has arrived! The Hyattsville, Maryland native did what no other ATP player has been able to do all year; beat Rafael Nadal in a Grand Slam. Tiafoe downed the No. 2 seed Nadal in four sets to advance to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Tiafoe used 18 aces and 49 winners to stun Nadal. He also broke Nadal 5-of-8 times. That included the final game to win the match.
Seeded No. 22 in Flushing Meadows, Tiafoe played in front of his parents, immigrants from Sierra Leone. Additionally, Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal was in Tiafoe’s support box looking on at Arthur Ashe Stadium Monday evening.
After his win, he called Beal “My favorite NBA player” in his on-court victory interview.
Tiafoe jumped out to two sets to one lead. But, the greatness of the 36-year-old Nadal appeared to resurge as he took a 3-1 lead in the fourth set. That’s when Tiafoe broke Nadal en route to winning the last five games.
Up 5-3, with Nadal serving, Tiafoe broke Nadal to clinch the win. Tiafoe beat Nadal with his quickness and hustle. Nadal, who was seeking his 23rd Grand Slam title, hadn’t lost a Grand Slam match this year. He won the Australian and French Opens and reached the semifinals of Wimbledon before an abdominal injury forced him to withdraw.
For Tiafoe this is just the second time he has reached the quarters of a Grand Slam. He did so in 2019 at the Australian. He will face No. 9 seed Aubrey Rublev Wednesday for a chance to reach his first Grand Slam semis.