Lucas Pouille pulled off the upset of the men’s draw thus far shocking 2-time champion Rafael Nadal 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(6) in the US Open. The win was Pouille’s third straight 5-set victory and it put him into the quarterfinals with fellow countryman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils, an Open Era record for French success in Slams.
“My first match on Ashe against Rafa: I couldn’t dream better than this,” Pouille said.
“I’m stronger than before,” added Pouille. “I can play many matches. I can play three match in five sets in a row. It’s long. But, yeah, I did it pretty good. I think because mentally I’m stronger, physically I’m stronger, gave me a lot of confident before the match. I knew if I wanted to win that, it’s not going to be like three sets, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2. It would be long.
“So I was ready for it. I think I was 100% before the match.”
Pouile overcame a 2-0 deficit in the fifth and in his first career match on Ashe, handed Nadal his first loss ever in a fifth set tiebreak.
“I think he played a good match,” Nadal said. “He started so strong. I fight until the end with. There were things I could do better. Had the right attitude. I fighted right up to the last ball. But I need something else, I need something more that was not there today. I going to keep working to try to find.
“Was a very, very close match that anything could happen. Just congratulate the opponent that probably he played with better decision than me the last couple of points.”
Nadal hasn’t reached Slam quarterfinal since the 2015 French Open and this year marks marks the first since 2004 that he hasn’t reached a Slam final eight.
“Mental or physical doesn’t matter,” he said. ‘I am out of the tournament. Physical, for sure no. I fight till the end. Of course was not a physical thing. Was not a mental thing. Was a terms of sport, and in sport you lose or you win. The opponent want to win the same like you.
“When the opponent beat you, is not the time to find excuses is mental or physical. Doesn’t matter. The opponent was a little better than you. That’s it. You have to congratulate the opponent, go to the next tournament, the next practice, and try to be ready.”
In the late match, Novak Djokovic came from a break down in the third to blast past Brit Kyle Edmund 6-2, 6-1, 6-4. It was Djokovic first full completed match in almost a week, and it didn’t amount to much.
Djokovic will now meet Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsongo who ended the run of Jack Sock in four sets 6-3, 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-2.
“Don’t give him too many free points,” Tsonga said of Djokovic. “That’s the most important for me. I will play my game. I will be aggressive, as always.
“Most important for me is stay focused on what I have to do and play the right shot.”
Sock was the last American left in the draw so Andy Roddick back in 2003 US Open remains the last American man to win a Slam.
“I take pride in being the last one here. Obviously [I] wanted to go out there and keep it going not only for myself but for the U.S. as a whole,” Sock said. “Unfortunately couldn’t do that today. But I think as everyone knows, I love everything in this country and playing for them. Hopefully in the future I can keep playing these second weeks, representing the best I can.”
And next for Pouille is a date with countryman Gael Monfils. The 30-year-old Monfils hasn’t dropped a set – though has enjoyed a great draw! – after taking out Marcos Baghdatis 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 to reach his third US Open quarterfinal.
“I think I my approach my slam like I approach my season. It was in a good way,” Monfils said. “So I still in the good way; I’m good track.”
On tap Monday, Juan Martin del Potro battles Dominic Thiem. Andy Murray meets Grigor Dimitrov, Stan Wawrinka takes on Ilya Marchenko and Kei Nishikori collides with Ivo Karlovic.
US OPEN MONDAY SCHEDULE
Arthur Ashe Stadium 11:00 AM Start
Dominic Thiem (AUT) vs. Juan Martin del Potro (ARG)
Not Before: 12:30 PM
Karolina Pliskova (CZE) vs. Venus Williams (USA)
Serena Williams (USA) vs. Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ)
Arthur Ashe Stadium 7:00 PM Start
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) vs. Andy Murray (GBR)
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) vs. Ana Konjuh (CRO)
Louis Armstrong Stadium 11:00 AM Start
Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) vs. Simona Halep (ROU)
Illya Marchenko (UKR) vs. Stan Wawrinka (SUI)
Not Before: 3:00 PM
3. Men’s Singles – R4
Kei Nishikori (JPN) vs. Ivo Karlovic (CRO)
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