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Rafael Nadal paid tribute to Frances Tiafoe as he admitted the American was ‘better’ than him in their US Open clash.

Tiafoe was able to snap Nadal’s brilliant 22-match Grand Slam winning streak this year with a classy performance that handed him a 6-4, 4,-6, 6-4, 6-3 win.

And, typically, Nadal offered an equally classy response by admitting that Tiafoe fully deserved to beat him.

“The difference is easy: I played a bad match, and he played a good match,” Rafael Nadal explained. “At the end that's it, no?

“I was not able to hold a high level of tennis for a long time. I was not enough quick on my movements. He was able to take the ball too many times very early, so I was not able to push him back.

“Yeah, tennis is a sport of position a lot of times, no? If not, you need to be very, very quick and very young. I am not in that moment anymore.

“My shots need to be better. In some way my understanding of the game and the quality of my shots were not enough good. They were poor, I think I have to say today, because I was not able to create that much on him.

“Yeah, well done for him. He was better than me.

While it was a disappointing result for Nadal, it was a landmark win for Frances Tiafoe, who said it was one he would tell his grandchildren about some day.

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It also felt like something of a breakthrough for the American, and Nadal admits that he was impressed.

“Well, all the credit to him, without a doubt,” he said. “He did a lot of things well.

“But at the end when you finish a match, of course it's important to recognize all the good things that the opponent is doing or the opponent did. Yes, without a doubt.

“But at the end of the day I need to analyse myself more than the opponent, no? I finish the match 15 minutes ago. Difficult for me to analyse yet.

“Of course, Tiafoe is playing more solid than before, serving well I think today, taking the ball very early, as I said before. Good backhands. He's quick, as everybody knows.

“But I don't think I pushed him enough to create him the doubts that I need to create. Tennis is always a balance. When somebody's not playing that well, it's easier that the opponent plays better. So if my ball is not a high-quality ball, then he's able to do his game much easier. That the thing.

“Of course, he did the things well. If not, he will not win, without a doubt. Congrats to him. As I said before, no excuses at all. I'm completely happy to recognize that he was much better than me today.”

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