NEW YORK – Rafael Nadal fell to his earliest US Open loss in six years on Monday when he was knocked out by Frances Tiafoe while Iga Swiatek became the first Polish woman to reach the quarter-finals.
Four-time US Open champion Nadal, bidding for a 23rd Grand Slam title, lost 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the last-16 to 26th-ranked Tiafoe.
The American’s free-swinging performance conjured up 18 aces and 49 winners past a sluggish Nadal.
For Australian and French Open champion Nadal, it was a first Grand Slam loss of 2022 after an abdominal strain forced him to forfeit his Wimbledon semi-final.
His defeat came just a day after world number one and defending champion Daniil Medvedev was knocked out also in the fourth round by Nick Kyrgios.
“I wasn’t able to push him back. Tennis is a sport of positions a lot of the time,” said 36-year-old Nadal.
“You need to be very quick and very young. I am not in that moment anymore.” Nadal added: “I was not able to cause great damage. He was better than me.”
Tiafoe, 24, will face Andrey Rublev, who he defeated over five sets in the third round in 2021, for a place in the semi-finals.
“I don’t know what to say, I’m so happy. He’s one of the greatest of all time and I played unbelievable tennis today,” said Tiafoe who had only previously reached one Slam quarter-final in Australia in 2019.
“Something special happened today. Honestly when I first came on the scene I wasn’t ready for it mentally and mature enough.
“I’ve been able to develop and I have great team around me. With you guys, it’s been great.” Seventh seed Rublev shrugged off a rain delay to breeze past Cameron Norrie and reach the quarter-finals for the third time with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win. AFP