New York might be the home of Broadway, but Sunday night’s most captivating show was held at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens.
There, for over four hours, 24th seeded Lucas Pouille and Rafael Nadal battled back and forth with a spot in the US Open quarterfinals on the line. In an instant classic, the 22-year-old outlasted the two-time US Open champion 6-1 2-6 6-4 3-6 7-6(6).
Every time it seemed like Pouille’s lack of experience would get the best of him, the Frenchman instead held his nerve and stepped up to the challenge.
None of those moments was as pivotal as the fifth set tiebreaker, when Pouille squandered three match point opportunities. But Nadal would give him one more try, when, tied at 6-6, the Spaniard sent a forehand into the net.
The fourth match point proved to be the charm for Pouille. After firing a winner clean past Nadal, Pouille fell onto the court.
Sunday was Pouille’s third five-setter of the tournament, and sets up an all-French quarterfinal with Gael Monfils. [/restrict]