Rafael Nadal failed to reach the last 16 of the US Open. The 22-time Grand Slam champion lost to a brilliant Frances Tiafoe in four sets 4:6, 6:4, 4:6, 3:6.

Rafael Nadal had not lost a Grand Slam match in 2022, winning the Australian and French Opens and missing Wimbeldon through injury. In New York, he was one of the favourites, but in the round of 16, Frances Tiafoe was an unpleasant opponent who had shown himself to be very strong in the tournament – and he did the same in the duel with the Spaniard.

With brutal serves and a lot of risk in his own game, the 24-year-old quickly showed that he had his work cut out for him. A break was enough for Tiafoe to take the first set 6:4. After the set, Nadal took a medical time-out and disappeared into the dressing room for ten minutes. After that, the Majorcan showed improvement and evened up after sets.

In sets three and four, however, it was noticeable that Nadal was not quite as confident on his own service – and Tiafoe went for it aggressively, causing astonishment in the stands with powerful forehands and good passing balls. When the American took the third set, the sensation was more and more on its way, but things heated up again in the fourth. First Nadal got the early break, but then Tiafoe came back – and how. He won five games in a row and threw his hands up in the New York sky after his 6:4, 4:6, 6:4, 6:3 victory – his first win against Nadal ever.
Rublev awaits Tiafoe, No. 1 Nadal?

After Melbourne 2019, this is the second time in his career that Tiafoe has reached the last eight at a Grand Slam – and at 24, he is the youngest US player since Andy Roddick in 2006 to reach the quarter-finals at the US Open. His next opponent will be Andrey Rublev of Russia, who had earlier defeated Cameron Norrie of Great Britain smoothly in three sets (6:4 each).

After Daniil Medvedev’s retirement, it was clear that the tennis world would get a new number 1. Besides Casper Ruud and Carlos Alcaraz, Rafael Nadal was also in the draw, but his return to the tennis throne could now be in danger if Ruud or Alcaraz reach the final.