US Open: Tiafoe says 'crazy things can happen' after stunning Nadal in fourth round

·2-min read

Frances Tiafoe is dreaming big after upsetting Rafael Nadal in the US Open fourth round on Monday to open up the men's singles draw.

The 22nd-seeded American stunned the 22-time grand slam champion, winning 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-3 in three hours and 34 minutes.

The victory meant Tiafoe reached the US Open quarter-finals for the first time, having fallen in the fourth round in the past three years. It also equaled his best-ever major return, having made the 2019 Australian Open quarters as well.

It also opens up the men's singles draw for a potential new grand slam winner, with Marin Cilic – who is due to play third seed Carlos Alcaraz on Monday evening – the last remaining major champion.

"Everyone is looking at it I'm sure," Tiafoe told reporters about the draw. "Everyone looks at it. Here we go, right? So am I. I'm just taking it day by day.

"Slams, crazy things can happen. Especially here in New York, so it's going to be a fun ride come Wednesday."

Tiafoe will take on ninth seed Andrey Rublev on Wednesday in the last eight, where he will hope to re-produce the "unbelievable" form he displayed against Nadal.

"I'm beyond happy, almost in tears, I can't believe it," Tiafoe said in his on-court interview. "I played unbelievable tennis today. I really don't know what happened."

During his press conference, he added: "It was definitely one hell of a performance… I just came out there and I just believed I could do it.

"It helps I played him a couple times. Haven't played him in some years [not since 2019]. I'm a different person now, different player."

Tiafoe had never beaten Nadal before, nor had he taken a set off the Spanish world number three. The victory was Tiafoe's third against a top-five opponent.

"For a while there, I was like, geez, you see all these young guys get Rafa, Fed [Roger Federer], Novak [Djokovic], am I ever going to be able to say I beat one of them?" he said.

"Today I was like, no, I'm going to do that. Now it's something to tell the kids, the grandkids, I beat Rafa."

Tiafoe was also blown away after four-time NBA MVP LeBron James tweeted after his win, labeling him the "young king".

"I was losing it in the locker room. I was going crazy," he said. "That's my guy, so to see him post that, I was like do I retweet it as soon as he sent it? I was like, you know what, I'm going to be cool and act like I didn't see it and then retweet it three hours later."