Frances Tiafoe of Hyattsville, Alabama had one of the biggest wins of his tennis career on Labor Day Monday. In a four-set match in the fourth round of the 2022 United States Open, Tiafoe defeated 22-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal 0f Spain 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
It was the first time in Tiafoe’s career he beat Nadal. The 36-year-old Spaniard who is considered the greatest player ever on the clay court surface, beat Tiafoe 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Australian Open and then 6-3, 6-4 in the third round of the 2019 Madrid Masters.
In Monday’s win, Tiafoe had 18 aces compared to only nine for Nadal. Tiafoe also broken Nadal five times and won 76% of his points on his first serve. This will be the second time in Tiafoe’s career he reached a grand slam quarterfinal. The only other time was three years ago when he was beaten by Nadal down under.
When was the last American grand slam male champion?
The United States have not had a grand slam male singles champion since Andy Roddick of Omaha, Nebraska. Roddick defeated Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 to win the 2003 United States Open in Flushing Meadows, New York. The 19-year drought for American men’s tennis at major championships is rather stunning. In fact no American man has reached a grand slam singles final since Roddick lost to Roger Federer of Switzerland, 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 16-14 at the 2009 Wimbledon Final in one of the greatest tennis matches of all-time.
Could this be Tiafoe’s time?
Well, Tiafoe now has the luxury of not having to face the number one player in the world, Daniil Medvedev of Russia, who lost to Australia’s Nick Kyrgios 7-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the fourth round, and Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia who withdrew because of personal reasons (reason was because he was unvaccinated and denied access into the United States). Of the players left in the men’s singles draw, there is only one grand slam champion. That is Croatia’s Marin Cilic, who beat Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-3, 6-3, to win the 2014 United States Open.