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Francis Tiafoe has stunned the tennis world by knocking out the number two seed and living legend Rafael Nadal at the US Open.
The 22-seed Tiafoe became the first person to beat Rafael Nadal in a grand slam match this year, snapping his 22-match win streak.
“I don’t even know what to say right now. I’m beyond happy. I can’t believe it,” said Tiafoe, who beat Nadal 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. “He’s one of the greatest of all time. I played unbelievable tennis today, but I don’t even know what happened.”
“It’s something to tell the kids, the grandkids: ‘Yeah, I beat Rafa,’” Tiafoe said with a big smile.
He served better than No. 2 seed Nadal. Even more surprisingly, he returned better, too. Tiafoe kept his cool, remained in the moment and didn’t allow the stakes or the opponent get to him. Nadal, a 36-year-old from Spain, had won both of their previous matches, along with every set they played, too.
The son of immigrants from Sierra Leone, Tiafoe has reached the quarterfinals of a major event for the second time in his career. He is the youngest American man, 24, to get that far at the U.S. Open since Andy Roddick in 2006.
In the same tournament that saw tennis’ GOAT, Serena Williams, make it to the third round before being eliminated in what is most likely her final tennis competition, three young Americans have reached the quarterfinals, with two of them being Black.
Coco Gauff, the youngest winner of a singles trophy on the WTA tour since 2004, has also advanced to the quarterfinals where she will face Caroline Garcia Tuesday evening.
It cannot be overlooked that both Tiafoe and Gauff wouldn’t be in the position they are in if it wasn’t for the trailblazing efforts of Serena decades before.
Tiafoe’s next match will be Wednesday afternoon where he will face ninth-ranked Andrey Rublev from Russia.