Rafael Nadal has consistently outperformed rivals from the best tennis nation in Major tournaments. At the four most significant events, Rafa has a 31-3 record against Americans, including 27 straight wins! Despite giving it his all, Taylor Fritz was unable to break Nadal‘s winning streak at Wimbledon; nevertheless, his countryman Frances Tiafoe took care of it in front of his supporters a few days ago.
In the fourth round of the US Open at Arthur Ashe Stadium, Tiafoe defeated Nadal 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 to become the first American to defeat the Spaniard in a Major match in 17 years! Andy Roddick defeated Rafa in their matchup at the US Open in 2004, and James Blake defeated him there the following year.
Before Tiafoe halted his US Open season before the quarterfinals, Nadal had been a 17-year Major puzzle for the Americans, defeating them 27 times. Frances won the match in three hours and 34 minutes by outplaying Rafa and playing aggressive tennis when it counted.
After 17 years, Rafael Nadal lost a Major match to an American.
The home favorite made 28 unforced errors, 49 winners, and five breaks that sent him over the top. Despite having a 3-1 lead in the fourth set, Nadal only managed two breaks, not enough to force a match-deciding match.
Frances served at 44%, but her serve was not in jeopardy in the first set. In the seventh game, he defeated Rafa, and in game 10, he won the set 6-4 with a volley. Prior to the second set, Nadal took a medical break and then picked up the pace.
He lost five points in his games, but at 5-4, following the opponent’s double fault, he delivered his first break of the match to win the set 6-4 and increase his chances. In the third set, Tiafoe recovered, serving brilliantly and maintaining pressure on the opposition.
The American won the seventh game with a backhand down the line winner to take the lead, and at 5-4 she aced to seal the set and give herself a huge boost. In the fourth game of the fourth set, the Spaniard, who was prepared to battle to the last end, nailed a forehand crosscourt winner to take a 3-1 lead and set up a decider.
Frances secured a 3-3 tie by recovering the break in the following game and fending off two break points in game six. In game seven, Rafa missed a backhand and was broken, ending his match and placing him close to the exit. With his 18th ace, Tiafoe won the eighth game and gave the third break in a row at 5-3 to record his greatest career triumph.