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Tiafoe ends Nadal’s Grand Slam match win streak at U.S. Open Sakkari through to Parma Open quarterfinals; Stephens loses Sorribes Tormo beats 2nd-seeded Trevisan at Parma Open

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NEW YORK. Frances Tiafoe’s eyes dimmed with tears. He was thrilled – stunned even – when the last point was over and it dawned on him that yes, he had snapped Rafael Nadal’s 22-match Grand Slam winning streak to reach the quarter-finals of the US Open for the first time.

“It felt like the world had stopped,” Tiafoe said. “I didn’t hear anything for a minute.”

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Tiafoe then found himself “losing his temper in the locker room” when he saw NBA superstar LeBron James tweet him.

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“Bro,” Tiafoe said, “I’m going crazy.”

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What meant the most to Tiafoe in his 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over 22-time world champion Nadal in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows was that he looked away at Arthur Ashe Stadium. box and knowing that his parents, Constant and Alfina, were there.

“To see them test my victory over Rafa Nadal – they saw me win big, but to beat these Mount Rushmore guys? For them, I can’t imagine what was going on in their heads,” said Tiafoe, a 24-year-old American who finished 22nd at the US Open. “I mean, they will remember today for the rest of their lives.”

His parents emigrated to the United States from Sierra Leone in West Africa during the civil war of the 1990s. They ended up in Maryland, where Constant helped build a junior tennis training center and later became a technician there; Alfina, according to Frances, was “a nurse, worked two jobs, worked overtime at night.” Francis and his twin brother Franklin were born in 1998, and soon they were to spend hours after hours at their father’s job with rackets in their hands.

Maybe one day, the dream went, a college scholarship would come out of it.

“Nothing like this should have happened,” Tiafoe said in the evening, hours after his biggest victory ever.

He is the youngest American to reach this far at the US Open since Andy Roddick in 2006, but this isn’t the case with a one-sided crowd backing one of their own. Nadal is as popular as it gets in tennis and heard a lot of support as the volume turned up after the retractable roof was closed in the fourth set.

“This is what you need to say to children, grandchildren: “Yes, I beat Rafa,” Tiafoe said with a wide smile.

He served better than Nadal, who finished second. More surprisingly, he’s back and better. And he kept his cool, stayed in the moment and never let the bets or the opponent get to him. Nadal, a 36-year-old from Spain, has won both previous matches and every set they have played.

“Well, the difference is simple: I played a bad match and he played a good one,” Nadal said. “In the end, that’s all.”

The surprise came the day after Tiafoe followed on TV as his buddy Nick Kyrgios “put on a show” and eliminated No. 1 seed and defending champion Daniil Medvedev. Thus, this is the first US Open where neither top two seed has reached the quarterfinals since 2000, when No. 1 Andre Agassi was eliminated in the second round and No. 2 Gustavo Kuerten in the first.

This was before Nadal, Novak Djokovic, who has 21 Grand Slam titles, and Roger Federer, who has 20, came to dominate men’s tennis. Djokovic, 35, did not compete in this US Open because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19 and was not allowed to enter the United States; Federer, 41, underwent a series of surgeries on his right knee and last played at Wimbledon last year.

The inevitable questions now arise as to whether their era of dominance is coming to an end.

“That means the years go by,” Nadal said. “This is the circle of life.”

Tiafoe is now facing No. 9 Andrei Rublev, who previously beat No. 7 Cam Norrie 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

Carlos Alcaraz beat No. 15 seed Marin Cilic 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in a match that lasted 3 hours 54 minutes and ended at 2:23.

Yannick Sinner, who took 11th place, rose after two games and beat Ilya Ivashka in the fifth set with a score of 6:1, 5:7, 6:2, 4:6, 6:3.

The No. 1 woman, Iga Swiatek, advanced to her first quarter-final at Flushing Meadows, coming back to defeat Jule Neuemeyer 2-6, 6-4, 6-0.

“I’m just proud,” Swiatek said, “that I didn’t lose hope.”

The 21-year-old from Poland will face another US Open quarter-finalist: No. 8 Jessica Pegula, the highest-ranked American who took the lead with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over two-time Wimbledon winner Petra. Kvitova.

Another women’s quarterfinal will be two-time Major finalist Karolina Pliskova against No. 6 Arina Sobolenko.

Nadal won the Australian Open in January and the French Open in June. He then reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon in July before dropping out of that tournament with a torn abdominal muscle.

Nadal only competed once in the month and a half between leaving the All England Club and arriving in New York where he won four trophies.

He modified his serve motion by tossing the ball lower than usual to not strain his stomach as much. There were many signs that his serve was not in the best shape: nine double faults, a first serve percentage hovering around 50%, five Tiafoe breaks.

Earlier in the tournament, he had lost the first set of his first round match. Did the same in the second round when he also accidentally cut the bridge of his nose and caused dizziness when the edge of his racket bounced off the court and hit him in the face.

Nadal was on the brink of turning the tide when he broke down early in the fourth set to go 3-1 up.

Tiafoe said to himself, “Stay in it. Stay with him.

This is due to two key areas that Tiafoe says has helped him become a stronger player in recent times: improved match thinking and commitment to fitness.

“Rafa is in his place. I’ve been known to occasionally have glitches in the game when you look (and think) “What is this?!” Thiafo said. “That was my thing – the intensity of the match.”

Now there is nothing to worry about: he has won the last five games. The penultimate break came at 4-3 in the fourth set when Nadal hit a backhand into the net and Tiafoe bounced back to the touchline for the next change with a raised fist.

Fifteen minutes later, Tiafoe broke down again and it was all over. This represents the latest significant step forward for Tiafoe, whose only previous trip to a Grand Slam quarter-final came at the 2019 Australian Open and ended in a loss to Nadal.

As Nadal’s last backhand hit the net, Tiafoe dropped his racquet and put his hands on his head. He glanced at the stands—mum, dad, brother, girlfriend, Washington Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal, and others—then sat down in a chair on the side and buried his face in a towel.

“It was just wild. My heart is beating at a thousand miles an hour. I was so excited. I’m like, “Let me sit down,” Tiafoe said. “Yeah, I’ve never felt anything like this in my life, honestly.”

PARMA, Italy – First-place finisher Maria Sakkari beat Arancia Rus 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to advance to the quarter-finals of the Parma Ladies Open.

Sakkari, who accepted a late card wild card for the red clay court tournament, played in her first tournament since losing to Wang Siyu in the second round of the US Open.

The Greek will play Marina Zanevskaya from Belgium, who beat Dalma Galfi 6-1, 6-3.

Fourth-placed Sloane Stevens of the United States, the 2017 US Open champion, lost to Danka Kovinic 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.

Kovinic will face Jasmine Paolini in the quarterfinals after the Italian defeated compatriot Elisabetta Cocciaretto 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

However, there will be an American in the final eight as Lauren Davis rallied to beat Sarah Sorribes Tormo 3–6, 6–4, 7–5. Sorribes Tormo eliminated runner-up Martina Trevisan in straight sets in the first round.

Davis will face Mayar Sheriff after the Egyptian defeated Simone Waltert 6-3, 7-6 (1).

In addition, Romania’s Irina-Camellia Begu, who placed third, overtook Italy’s Matilda Paoletti 6:4, 6:4 to advance to the quarter-finals against Ana Bogdan, who placed sixth, who beat Anna Karolina Shmidlova 6:2, 3:6. 6-3.

PARMA, Italy. Sara Sorribes Tormo beat second-place Martina Trevisan 7-5, 6-0 in the first round of the Parma Ladies Open, marking the third straight first round loss for the French Open semi-finalist this year.

Third seed Irina-Kamelia Begu took the lead when Victoria Tomova retired with Begu leading 7-5, 5-1.

Danka Kovinic defeated Ocean Dodin 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 and will next face 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stevens.

Also on the red clay courts, Egypt’s Mayar Sheriff knocked out fifth-seeded Anna Bondar, 7-5, 6-4; Elisabetta Cocciaretto defeated No. 7 Nuria Parrisas Diaz 7-5, 6-1; and Italian wild card Matilda Paoletti earned her first tour-level win by defeating Romanian Gabriela Li 6-4, 3-6, 6-0.



Source: sports.nbcsports.com

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