US Open talking points - Nadal crashes out to Pouille

We look at some of the biggest talking points from day seven of the final Grand Slam of the season in the Big Apple.

Sport360 staff
by Sport360 staff
5th September 2016

article:5th September 2016

Distraught: Rafael Nadal.
Distraught: Rafael Nadal.

Rafael Nadal crashed out of the US Open as the Spaniard lost a five-set thriller to France’s Lucas Pouille in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows.

Nadal saved three match points in a pulsating final-set tie-break, but could not avert the fourth as Pouille triumphed 6-1 2-6 6-4 3-6 7-6 (8/6).


Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reached the quarter-finals of the US Open for the second successive year on Sunday with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (7/9), 6-2 victory over American Jack Sock.

The ninth seed from France fired 54 winners to oust 26th-seeded Sock, the lone remaining US man in the field.

Three years ago and aged just 23, Anastasija Sevastova was so depressed by her tennis career that she quit, left her native Latvia and moved to Austria to study leisure management.

But at the US Open, she has become the latest woman to find success in her second life on the courts, unable to resist the call of competition, the lure of the lights and the security of the big paydays.

NADAL CRASHES OUT TO POUILLE

14-time major champion Rafael Nadal has now failed to go past the fourth round in his last five grand slams, while Pouille advances to meet fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils in the quarter-finals.

Nadal led by 4-2 and a break in the deciding set in Arthur Ashe Stadium but Pouille broke back, winning four out of the next six games to force a tie-break.

The 22-year-old then pulled 6-3 clear to open up three match points but, while Nadal saved them all, he then missed a simple forehand and Pouille pounced to snatch a momentous victory.

“It took everything,” Pouille said on court afterwards.

“It is my first match on the centre court against Rafa. I couldn’t dream better than this.”

TSONGA ELIMINATES LAST US MAN STANDING

The ninth seed from France fired 54 winners to oust 26th-seeded Sock, the lone remaining US man in the field.

In match pitting two players with fearsome forehands, Tsonga boasted the deadlier precision, although Sock didn’t go quietly, saving a match point in the third-set tiebreaker to force the deciding fourth set.

Once he had, however, 2008 Australian Open runner-up Tsonga reasserted himself, powering to a 5-2, 40-0 lead.

The Frenchman had a little hiccup with a double fault before belting an unreturnable serve to close it out.

SEVASTOVA’S RETURN GOING WELL

On Sunday, the 26-year-old became the first Latvian woman in 22 years to reach the last-eight of a Grand Slam.

It’s a long way from when she stepped off the circuit in May 2013 until January 2015, opting to study instead.

“It was some accounting, some management, marketing; I had some exams. I passed and it was easy at some point,” she recalled after seeing off Johanna Konta of Britain to reach the US Open quarter-finals.

“But at some point I said, OK, I will try tennis again. So I had to stop.”

Her ranking had slumped to 181 by the end of 2012, but her surprise success in New York, where she has already knocked out French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, will comfortably see her improve on her current standing of 48.

“It’s been a bumpy road. I didn’t expect to be here at this point of my life after retiring,” she said.

 


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