"Just saying you beat him in a Grand Slam, here in New York, that was crazy" - Frances Tiafoe reflects on his win against Rafael Nadal following US Open semifinal loss to Carlos Alcaraz

Frances Tiafoe relfects on Nadal win in fourth round.
Frances Tiafoe reflects on his US Open fourth-round win against Rafael Nadal.

Frances Tiafoe reflected on his 'crazy' win over Rafael Nadal in the fourth round after losing to Carlos Alcaraz in the US Open semifinals on Friday.

In a clash between the first-time Grand Slam semifinalists, it was Tiafoe who drew first blood by taking the opener in a tiebreak. However, the Spaniard roared back into contention, dropping only four games to take a two-sets-to-one lead.

Tiafoe extended the contest by forcing a decider, where he recouped a break of serve but couldn't stop his opponent from reaching his first Major final.

Big belief from Big Foe.

Nevertheless, Tiafoe was happy with his exploits during the fortnight. He beat three seeded players - Diego Schwartzman, four-time winner Rafael Nadal and Andrey Rublev - to reach the last four.

The American said as much in his post-match press conference, terming the fortnight the "craziest two weeks" of his career, especially as he became the first player to beat Nadal at a Major this year.

"Craziest two weeks of my life. Craziest two weeks of my life. Stuff you dream about doing. Fell a little short. But ... getting to the fourth round three years in a row, that's already a good accomplishment. Beating Rafa, being the only player to beat Rafa in a slam this year, the year he's had. Him being in the race to be No. 1 in the world, shut that down," he said.

Nadal was 22-0 in the Majors going into the Tiafoe clash, having won titles at the Australian Open and Roland Garros and reaching the Wimbledon semifinals - where he was forced to withdraw because of an abdominal tear.

"Just saying you beat him in a Grand Slam. Me beating him two-out-of-three, Grand Slam, it's not an easy task. To have my first time beat him here in New York in front of everybody and seeing what that meant, that was crazy," he added.

While not many players have been able to back up a win against Nadal at a Major, Tiafoe wasn't one of them, as he fell narrowly short against Alcaraz in an 'unbelievable' last-four contest.

"Being able to back it up, too. A lot of people beat him and don't back it up. That was a lot of growth coming out. And playing Andrey and beating him, then playing an unbelievable match tonight. Crazy two weeks. I really need to soak it in to give you an answer," he stated.

Frances Tiafoe is now set to enter the top 20 of the rankings for the first time after his exploits in the Big Apple. Meanwhile, Alcaraz will take on Casper Ruud on Sunday, with the winner becoming the newest first-time Major winner and the World No. 1.

"I still have more in me if I had to play on Sunday" - Frances Tiafoe

Frances Tiafoe at the 2022 US Open.
Frances Tiafoe at the 2022 US Open.

Frances Tiafoe said that he wasn't a spent force after the Carlos Alcaraz match. He said that he would have had something in the tank had he beaten the young Spaniard to make the final.

Nevertheless, he now appreciates that going all the way at a Major requires a lot of sacrifice and ample rest, observing:

"I always knew to put two weeks together is obviously the toughest thing in the world. That's why only three guys (Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic) were doing it for so long. After getting this deep, I understand how much rest is important during two weeks of slams. I still have more in me if I had to play on Sunday. But, yeah, I mean, two weeks, three-out-of-five, is not easy. It's a tough test."
What's at stake in the #USOpen final?A first Grand Slam title and the No. 1 ranking in the world. Otherwise, not much.

Frances Tiafoe will now look for a strong finish to the year and possibly break into the top ten.

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Edited by Anirudh
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