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US Open: Rafael Nadal knocked out by Frances Tiafoe in fourth round

Rafael Nadal has been beaten in a Grand Slam for the first time in 2022, losing to Frances Tiafoe in the US Open fourth round.

American Tiafoe thrilled the home crowd with a 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-3 win over four-time champion Nadal in New York.

The defeat ended the Spaniard’s bid for a record-extending 23rd major singles title.

Nadal led the fourth set 3-1 before Tiafoe hit back, winning five games in a row to secure his quarter-final spot.

He will face Russian ninth seed Andrey Rublev for a place in the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows.

Tiafoe, seeded 22nd, threw his racquet to the floor and covered his face in disbelief as his victory was confirmed by a netted Nadal backhand.

After thanking the crowd he covered his face with his towel, taking in the atmosphere on a raucous Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“Something special happened today,” the 24-year-old said on court.

“I don’t know what to say, I’m so happy. He’s one of the greatest of all time and I played unbelievable.”

Nadal has never looked settled in New York this year but that is not to take anything away from Tiafoe, who played a clever match.

Nadal’s loss and the defeat for 2014 champion Marin Cilic who was beaten in five sets by Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz means there will be a first-time Grand Slam winner in Sunday’s final.

Alcaraz, 19, came through 6-4 3-6 6-4 4-6 6-3 in three hours and 53 minutes with the clock striking 02:24 in New York, a couple of minutes short of the latest-ever finish at Flushing Meadows.

He will take on Italian 11th seed Jannik Sinner who also needed five sets to get past unseeded Belarusian Ilya Ivashka 6-1 5-7 6-2 4-6 6-3.

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