(New York) Surprise in New York: Rafael Nadal, third player in the world and four times winner of the event, was eliminated in the round of 16 of the United States Open, beaten 6-4, 4-6, 6- 4, 6 -3 by Frances Tiafoe (26And), Monday in New York.
Updated yesterday at 20:46
In the absence of Novak Djokovic, banned from entering the United States because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19, no. 2 of the world Alexander Zverev, who is recovering from an injury to his right ankle, and after Sunday’s elimination of the No. .1 and reigning champion Daniil Medvedev, the Majorcan was the favorite to clinch a fifth Major at Flushing Meadows and take his Grand Slam title record to 23.
But he fell on a Tiafoe (26And World Cup) who played the game of his life when he himself regretted not being able to play his best tennis.
“He played well, he did a lot of things very well. For my part, I have had my chances and if I want to be in the quarters I have to play better than that, “said the 36-year-old Spaniard.
“We must be ready to seize the opportunities that arise. And I couldn’t. He knew how to do it, he played with the right determination, “she added.
Nadal only converted two of the six break points obtained when Tiafoe won five out of eight.
The defeat of Nadal leaves the race for the place of number 1 in the world wide open, which Medvedev will automatically give up on September 12: the Spaniard remains in contention, but the chances of his compatriot Carlos Alcaraz and the Norwegian Casper Ruud, still the race in New York, suddenly skyrocketing.
Tiafoe, who had never passed 8I am finalist at the United States Open (he had reached the quarterfinals in Australia in 2019), therefore continues his journey.
“I don’t know what to say, I don’t believe it … I played incredible tennis, I don’t know what happened,” he said hot, on a cloud, before leaving Arthur-Ashe’s court where the feat and ovation of the audience had clouded his eyes.
It is he who will face the Russian Andrey Rublev (11And) for a place in the semifinals.
Rublev in the last four
Andrey Rublev also qualified for the quarter-finals on Monday. He will try for the sixth time to move up to the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament.
The Spaniard, number 3 in the world but who manages to recover the place of number 1 at this Major in New York where he is looking for a 23And Grand Slam title, she will face the American Frances Tiafoe (26And).
A sudden downpour at the end of the morning briefly interrupted Louis-Armstrong’s field games and delayed the start of the Arthur-Ashe games, time to close the roofs. The day on the side courts was a bit more influenced, but there are no more singles matches scheduled there.
Rublev, 11And world, got rid of the British Cameron Norrie (9And) 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, after having had to fight five sets in the previous round to expel Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the tie-break, in more than 4 hours of fighting.
“We still played two and a half hours, that’s a long time! “, The Russian insisted.
“It was tough … The last time (in the semifinal in San Diego in 2021, ed) he had beaten me and I knew very well when I entered the field that I had to play well to have a chance”. He added.
He actually produced excellent tennis, full of punches as usual, scoring 30 winners for 17 unforced errors.
At 24, Rublev has already played as a quarterback in New York in 2017 and 2020, at Roland-Garros in 2020 and 2022 and at the Australian Open 2021. But he never went further.
This 8And The day of the United States Open will also see Carlos Alcaraz (4And), try to qualify for the quarter-finals (like last year for his first participation) by facing the Croatian Marin Cilic (17And and winner 2014).
After the elimination of the reigning champion Daniil Medvedev from 8I am Sunday’s final, Alcaraz will also be able to take his place on the world throne on 12 September. The third player to qualify is Norwegian Casper Ruud (5And) who qualified on Monday.
In the women’s draw the American Jessica Pegula (8And) easily eliminates the Czech Petra Kvitova (21And) 6-3, 6-2 and will play his first quarter-final in Flushing Meadows.
“It wasn’t really easy”
Karolina Pliskova (22)And World Cup), finalist of the competition in 2016, qualified for the quarter-finals of the US Open beating 7-5, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2 the Belarusian Victoria Azarenka (26And), Monday in New York.
The 30-year-old Czech, who reached this stage in Flushing Meadows for the fifth time, will face Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka (6And) or the American Danielle Collins (19And).
As often when facing each other, Pliskova and Azarenka, they drew for four wins anywhere before this 8And finals, played a very tight match. But the Czech was more often aggressive (53 shots won against 46) and rewarded after three hours of intense struggle, in her fourth match point.
“Victoria is a great player, very dangerous. The game was very close, the points very long. It wasn’t really easy, ”Pliskova warmly commented.
It will be against world number 1 Iga Swiatek who got scared before definitively beating the German Jule Niemeier (108And) 2-6, 6-4, 6-0 in an illegal match in which a total of 76 unforced errors were made and 12 breaks were made.
“It’s really satisfying,” Swiatek said, explaining: “It will be my first quarter-final in New York, so I’m really proud.”
The 21-year-old Polish, double winner of Roland-Garros (2020, 2022) and the first representative of her country to reach the quarterfinals at the United States Open, was eliminated this year in the semifinals of the Australian Open.
He then lost in the second round in Dubai but, from the next tournament, in Doha, he played 37 games without defeat, winning six titles, in Doha, Indian Wells, Miami, Suttgart, Rome and Roland-Garros, until his fall. in the third round at Wimbledon.
He assured that his season hits had been accompanied by an immutable ritual for his entry into the field: listening to the same playlist that included songs from AC / DC, Led Zeppelin or Pearl Jam.
“I’ve been listening to it all year and I’m a little fed up with it. But I’m not going to change now!” She said.