Writer: Yerelyn Cortez Hidalgo
Monday, September 5, 2022
Labor Day Monday September 5th is Day 8 at the US Open with attendees going to different matches during the day and night matches. The first match at Arthur Ashe Stadium held at 12 Noon between Petra Kvitova (No. 21 seed) and Jessica Pegula (No. 8 seed). It was an easy sweep by Pegula as she easily won the first sest at 6 to 3 beating Kvitova. The second set, even easier beating Kvitova 6 to 2. Pegula now marches on to the Quarterfinals playing against Iga Swiatek the No. 1 seed from Poland. The night match will take place at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday, September 7th from 7PM.
The second match of the day at Arthur Ashe Stadium started at 2:30PM with Frances Tiafoe (No. 22 seed from Maryland, USA) playing against Rafael Nadal (No. 2 seed from Spain). Nadal was the expected winner for this match as he is a force to be reckoned with and constantly delivers exciting games winning and beating players left and right. It was as shock of a match with unexpected turn of events ending Nadal's dream to win another US Open. Let's take a look at what happened to see where things went wrong for Nadal.
The atmosphere was invigorating and the stadium full of fans for both players Tiafoe and Nadal. The first set at a mere 27 minutes was a tied set at 3-3. One thing to notice is that Nadal has not been winning the first set of some of the matches he has been playing here at the US Open. Intentional? A strategy to tire his opponent? Perhaps but that is a dicey roll to play. A setback for Nadal which we all assumed would not be an issue since he has been able to deliver and conquer his matches. Tiafoe wins the first set at 6-3 and it lasted 54 minutes into the match. This was the beginning of the end for Nadal's night and dream to win another US Open.
At 1 hour and 21 minutes into the match, Nadal surpasses Tiafoe on the second set at 3 to 2. The games were long making them very long sets, there were a lot of deuces and advantage points going back to deuce back and forth. It seems like it could've been anybody's game but Tiafoe was strong, focused and consistently getting the points he needed to win.
At 2 hours and 17 minutes into the match both players have one a set on the board each, first Tiafoe on the first set 6-4 and second set Rafa gets 6-4. Now 3rd set Tiafoe wins the set leading Rafa on 2 out of 3 sets. At 2:33 into the match Tiafoe leads 2 sets to Rafa only having 1 set in his favor.
Celebrity sightings included an usual suspect such as Ben Stiller who attends the US Open every year without fault. Another new sighting included singer Seal who was a players guest. Seal was sitting on the 50's section of the stadium and was supporting Frances Tiafoe throughout the match.
An exciting forceful match between the two players but it just wasn't Nadal's night as he made mistakes and missed on opportunities where even he was shocked he missed. Frances Tiafoe beats Rafael Nadal at 3 hours and 34 minutes. The final scores with 4-sets on the board 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
At the press conference Nadal answered our questions giving us a glimpse of what he was going through mentally, physically and personally. NADAL: “ I was not quick on my movements. Tennis is a sport of position. You have to be very quick and very young. We can’t complain now about a lot of things. We can’t find excuses and I need to be a critic with myself in order to find solutions. He went to the 4th round of the US open and the best player won the match." Nadal doesn’t feel he pushed him enough to create doubts on Tiafoe games and he simply beat him. He is happy to recognize that he was much better than him today. He just feels that he played a bad match today.
Nadal feels like he had chances to make a come back but couldn’t recover. He played with the right determination. He has to go back and fix things, life and needs to be and feel ready to compete again. He has some personal issues and things which may have contributed to not being mentally prepared to win this match at this stage. He said he is not about finding excuses and this time the match was not for him. He tried but unfortunately he didn’t make it. Maybe he needs a little bit of tranquility, practices. We can always find excuses but at the end is very simple that he didn’t play well and when you don’t play well you simply don’t win.
The best thing to do is to thank to his rival who did a better match than him. We are gonna keep on going forward. - Nadal last statement.
Frances Tiafoe Media Interview which was initially scheduled to 7:30pm was pushed to 8pm.
Frances said: "I played very well today and I am a different person today, a different player. Today he can say he beat Rafa and he hopes not to play him again. Why was it important for your parents to be here (journalist asked)? His mother was a nurse working nights , and his father worked in a club. He was very motivated by watching Serena and Venus play when he was little.
Another journalist asked "What were some of the things you were telling yourself last night to prepare yourself for the match?" When you are in the match you just play. He felt very relaxed today as well as this morning.
He felt like a blurr for the first minute after he won. He simply couldn't believe it and had a positive moment with tears as the crowd was very supportive for his win and the incredible match he performed today.
US Open Tennis Tournament 2022