France's Pouille upsets Nadal to reach quarters
By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Young Frenchman Lucas Pouille scored a stunning, five-set upset over 14-times grand slam singles champion Rafa Nadal, winning a climactic tiebreak 8-6 to reach the U.S. Open quarter-finals on Sunday.
Displaying poise beyond his years, the 22-year-old Pouille took charge early and led two sets to one, then rebounded after sagging in the fourth set to win 6-1 2-6 6-4 3-6 7-6(6) in a four-hour struggle against the fourth seed.
Playing his third consecutive five-set match, 24th seed Pouille, still looking for his first ATP Tour title, showed that his quarter-final advance earlier this season at Wimbledon was no fluke.
"It's my first match on the center court, against Rafa," Pouille said in an on-court interview after dropping flat on his back in celebration after his forehand winner ended the marathon on his fourth match point.
"I couldn't dream better than this."
The see-saw battle carried all the way into the fifth-set tiebreak, reached after Pouille answered Nadal's opening game service break with one of his own in the eighth game.
In the tension-packed decider, the Frenchman rushed out to a 4-1 lead. Double U.S. Open winner Nadal drew within 4-3 but a forehand winner by Pouille made it 6-3 for triple match point.
Nadal, who has made an extraordinary comeback from a wrist injury that forced him to retire before his third-round match at Roland Garros and withdraw from Wimbledon, fought them all off to make it 6-6. Continued...