Pouille up­sets Nadal in 5 sets

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

FRANCE’S Lu­cas Pouille claimed the big­gest win of his ca­reer as he beat two-time cham­pion Rafael Nadal in a sen­sa­tional US Open last-16 match.

The 22-year-old re­cov­ered from a break down in the fifth be­fore con­vert­ing his fourth match point in the tiebreak to win 6-1 2-6 6-4 3-6 7-6 (8-6).

“It took every­thing. I could not dream bet­ter than that,” the world num­ber 25 said af­ter his four-hour vic­tory.

Pouille will play com­pa­triot Gael Mon­fils, who beat Mar­cos Bagh­datis.

The de­feat means that 2016 is the first year since 2004 in which Nadal, 30, has failed to reach a Grand Slam quar­ter­fi­nal.

“I am close to be­ing 100% again and I be­lieve I can have a cou­ple more good years,” said Nadal whose most re­cent Grand Slam ti­tle came with his ninth French Open in 2014.

His best runs since have been two quar­ter-fi­nal spots at the 2015 Aus­tralian and French Opens.

“I fought to the end to­day but I needed some­thing that was not there. I will keep work­ing to try and find it.”

Else­where Jo-Wil­fried Tsonga, also of France, ended Amer­i­can in­ter­est in the men’s sin­gles by beat­ing Jack Sock.

His win gave France three men’s quar­ter-fi­nal­ists at the Amer­i­can Grand Slam tour­na­ment for the first time in 89 years.

The ninth seed will play world num­ber one No­vak Djokovic, who beat Bri­tish num­ber four Kyle Ed­mund in straight sets.

Four­teen-time Grand Slam cham­pion Nadal had dropped only three games in an em­phatic win in the pair’s only pre­vi­ous meet­ing, but Pouille has been on a steady rise through the rank­ings since that 2015 de­feat in Monte Carlo.

On his first ap­pear­ance on the cen­tre­piece Arthur Ashe court, he showed why with an as­sured touch at the net and a re­lent­less de­ter­mi­na­tion to at­tack his ground­strokes.

Hav­ing led two sets to one, it seemed that Pouille might have to be con­tent with valiant de­feat when Nadal moved 4-2 up in the de­cider.

But the Wim­ble­don quar­ter-fi­nal­ist prised his way back into the match and it was Nadal who fal­tered in the tiebreak, net­ting a short fore­hand at 6-6 to hand his op­po­nent a fourth and fa­tal chance to close out the match.— AP.

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