American Frances Tiafoe Stuns Rafael Nadal in Fourth Round of US Open

by Jonathan Howard

Hey, Americans, don’t give up on the U.S. Open just yet. Frances Tiafoe made a massive statement by taking down Rafael Nadal with three of four sets. The 24-year-old had the match of his career. Even at such a young age, Tiafoe has been at this for a long time. How great are sports? He broke onto the national scene at just 16 years old and is now positioned to live up to the potential everyone saw in him then.

Frances Tiafoe was confident heading into his match that he had what it took to win. Facing up against the No. 2 in the world and a living legend like Nadal must have been at least a little nerve-wracking for the 22-seeded American.

This is the first time that Nadal has lost to any American at a major in 17 years. James Blake has the honor of being the American that took him down in 2005.

The play was inspiring, the match was grueling, and both men gave it their all. However, only one could win and today it was the former prodigy Tiafoe and not the well-decorated veteran. Sets of 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, and 6-3 secured the win for the Maryland-born tennis star. This will surely push Tiafoe to a new career-high in the world rankings, especially if he is able to win another round.

“I’m not going to have that first-time-playing-him, excited-to-play [feeling],” Tiafoe said prior to the match. “Now I believe I can beat him.” And he did.

Frances Tiafoe Stays Confident Throughout Match

When it came down to it, it was confidence that saved Frances Tiafoe. He remained confident and even tried to get into Nadal’s head. While that is possibly a tougher task than defeating him in a match, it was still going on. Tiafoe would at times give these intense looks at his opponent as he served 18 aces on the day and sent one flying at 136 MPH.

Even though he was a ferocious competitor, Tiafoe was sportsmanlike after the match. Nadal had surgery recently after dropping from Wimbledon. One of the moments that got to Tiafoe the most was a “bathroom break” that ended up being a medical timeout. It lasted almost 9 minutes in total, and the American complained for a time.

America has a man in the Quarter Finals of the U.S. Open. Without Nadal or Novak Djokovic waiting, could this be a major moment in Frances Tiafoe’s career? To win the U.S. Open would be a massive success for this young star looking to get back on track with his earlier career trajectory. It’s no Serena, but you know American tennis fans will be proudly cheering Tiafoe the rest of the way.