Tiafoe extinguishes Nadal’s ambitions

[22] F. Tiafoe b. [2] R Nadal 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-3

Again Rafael Nadal I entered the field thinking carefully with which foot to do it. Francis Tiafoe Instead, he began to think about how he would handle this wonderful moment in his career: one step at a time. In this way he won what was an exceptional match today, with a score of 64 46 64 63. With clarity, patience and a lot of courage. He knew how to hurt the service and above all he knew how to be consistent. He managed to put the right tactic into practice and he didn’t let his speed run wild. For his part, Nadal was not at his best today. Too many double faults, too many. A lighter-than-usual forehand and very indecisive service responses. The 24-year-old American said at a press conference: “The first time I played against Nadal I was just happy with that, but now it’s not enough for me, now I want to win”. And he was able to realize his dream. Now Andrei Rublev will wait for him in the semi-finals.

match

The first group The first set starts well for both players who keep serving without issues until 3 all reach the first break point of the match to Tiafoe. The 24-year-old American goes to get this first Coincidence With great courage: he was responding aggressively, Nadal responds with a backhand, his best shot yet, but the ball ran out and it’s Tiafoe’s break. So far, No. 26 in the world rankings appears within reach of the quarter-finals. Nadal uses fewer trajectories than usual with a forehand, he doesn’t mess with the ball as usual and is less effective. Service transformations resume their normal course and Nadal remains in the wake of Tiafoe, who led 5 games to 4 with great features. The decisive role comes in serving the American player in this first set who immediately goes to win three straight points in a row. The first set point starts away due to a double fault caused by a risky second serve, and the second due to Nadal’s winning reply. But even the Spanish defense cannot contain Tiafoe’s aggressive play Whoever goes to take the third set point by force and closes 6-4.

The Spaniard leaves the field and returns to the run after about ten minutes. But hers wasn’t just a toilet break. Nadal is also requesting a medical grace period to wrap his wrist After feeling uncomfortable during the first set.

the second group Despite the ten minute break, Tiafoe resumes the second set with intense focus and holds the first few rounds well. Even if the American began to appear less aggressive than in the first group. Nadal, however, lends him a helping hand, continuing to make some non-coercive (unusual) legal errors. On all fours, there are two double faults in the same match for the Spaniard who now looks very frustrated with his game. He finds himself having to fight for the merits, but despite the previous two mistakes, he manages to recover and becomes a 5-4 Nadal. And just when we least expected it, for the first time since the start of the game, Nadal’s first two break points, or two set points, arrive. Tiafoe eliminated the first break ball by playing an amazing point first with a forehand and then with a well-placed cross backhand. However, a few moments later he made an unforgivable double foul, and that’s the point for the Spaniard. A series of unexpected events upends what seemed like another game half an hour ago.

Third group:

Now if the American wants to win, he must continue to pursue the original goal: to play his game and not let Rafa dictate the pace of the exchanges. Tiafoe continues to respond very well but the Spaniard now hits the ball better after serving, and turns back shifts faster. But here, as in the first set, the first break point of the American again reaches 3 players. And for the second time he goes to take this break by force, without any help from Nadal but only with his determination. Now Tiafoe is very confident in his game again, and in the next game he also shows a watered-down textbook, under the net. For the second time since the start of the match, the American finds himself having to serve the group. He starts poorly with a double fault, but then recovers with a great serve. The next three points with which Tiafoe closes the group off is the definition of the amazing performance that the 23-year-old from Maryland is achieving today. A long forehand on the goal line, another winning forehand in the run, and an impeccable message make Francis Tiafoe two sets to 1 over Rafael Nadal.

Quarto group:

This fourth set is full of surprises and sparks. It opens immediately with a resting point for the fiery-looking American. Nadal eliminates the break point with a risky second serve and then closes the match shouting at the top of his voice. We know that a Spaniard never gives up. At 2 to 1, there are two break points for Nadal thanks to some help from the American who seemed visibly annoyed by the mechanical noise of the roof closing. Tiafoe cancels the first with the ace champion. But the Spaniard does not miss a second chance with the determination that has always distinguished him. Nadal broke as well as Tiafoe’s verbal abuse warning against the referee. Now there is a lot of tension on both sides: two double faults for Nadal and a break point for the American. And Tiafoe’s mental strength today immediately gives him the counter-breakout. However, three hours and 10 minutes of play starts to feel like the American misses a lot in the next game and gives Majorcan two chances to break again. But with four consecutive points, Tiafoe managed to finish a very important match. But the American’s real achievement came after 7 minutes of the match: Tiafoe also managed to break the Spaniard again and go on to serve 4-3 with a break in his favour. Deciding the next round of serve and with another break weighing down the match point, Francis Tiafoe beat the 22-time slam winner for the first time.

Now all he has to do is continue the story in the semi-finals where he will face Rublev.

Margherita Sculino