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Rafael Nadal knocked out of US Open by Frances Tiafoe

Rafael Nadal knocked out of US Open by Frances Tiafoe
© Reuters
Rafael Nadal's bid for a record-extending 23rd Grand Slam title ends in the fourth round of the US Open as he falls to a four-set defeat to home favourite Frances Tiafoe.

Rafael Nadal has been knocked out of the US Open courtesy of a four-set defeat to home favourite Frances Tiafoe at Flushing Meadows.

The Spaniard had not previously lost a Grand Slam match this year having won both the Australian Open and French Open before being forced to miss Wimbledon through injury.

However, he was unable to resist a captivating performance by Tiafoe as the American ran out a 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-3 winner in New York.

Breaks in the seventh game of both the first and third sets proved pivotal for Tiafoe, although Nadal was on course to take it all the way to a fifth-set decider when he moved into a 3-1 lead in the fourth.

However, world number 26 Tiafoe then reeled off five successive games, including three successive breaks against the Nadal serve, to secure a famous victory.

The 24-year-old had only previously made it as far as the quarter-finals at one Grand Slam - the 2019 Australian Open - but will now be hopeful of going even further roared on by a home crowd in a wide-open draw.

Tiafoe, who will face ninth seed Andrey Rublev for a place in the semi-finals, is looking to become the first American to win the home Grand Slam since Andy Roddick in 2003.

Frances Tiafoe of the United States reacts to defeating Rafael Nadal of Spain on day eight of the 2022 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center on September 5, 2022© Reuters

Marin Cilic's defeat to Carlos Alcaraz later in the day means that there are now no past Grand Slam champions remaining in this year's men's tournament.

Nadal, meanwhile, sees his bid to clinch a record-extending 23rd Grand Slam title - including a fifth at Flushing Meadows - ended, and he has hinted that he will now take a break from the sport.

"I need to go back. I need to fix things, life, then I don't know when I'm going to come back," the world number three told reporters after the match.

"I'm going to try to be ready mentally. When I feel that I will be ready to compete again, I will be there. The difference is easy: I played a bad match and he played a good match.

"I was not able to hold a high level of tennis for a long time. I was not enough quick on my movements. He was able to take the ball too many times very early, so I was not able to push him back.

"Tennis is a sport of position. You need to be very, very quick and very young. I am not in that moment any more."

Nadal's comments cast doubt on his expected involvement in the Laver Cup alongside the likes of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray in London later this month.

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