NEW YORK - Rafael Nadal fell to his earliest US Open loss in six years on Monday when he was knocked out by Frances Tiafoe while Carlos Alcaraz survived a five-set epic to reach a second successive quarter-final in a tie. Four-time US Open champion Nadal lost 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the last-16 to 26th-ranked Tiafoe. The American’s big-hitting performance conjured up 18 aces and 49 winners past a sluggish Nadal. For Australian and French Open champion Nadal, it was a first Grand Slam loss of 2022 after an abdominal strain forced him to forfeit his Wimbledon semi-final. His defeat came just a day after world No 1 and defending champion Daniil Medvedev was knocked out by Nick Kyrgios. “I wasn’t able to push him back. Tennis is a sport of positions a lot of the time,” said Nadal. “You need to be very quick and very young. I am not in that moment anymore.” Tiafoe, 24, will face Andrey Rublev, who he defeated over five sets in the third round in 2021, for a place in the semi-finals. Alcaraz defeated 2014 champion Marin Cilic 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in a match which was just three minutes short of equalling the record for the latest finish at the tournament. In a gruelling three-hour and 54-minute encounter, Cilic was under siege, having to save 12 of 18 break points while committing 66 unforced errors. Alcaraz will face Jannik Sinner of Italy for a semi-final place. Italian 11th seed Sinner reached his third Slam quarter-final of 2022 with a 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 win over Ilya Ivashka of Belarus. The pair served up 27 double faults between them and 119 unforced errors. Seventh seed Rublev breezed past Cameron Norrie to reach the quarter-finals for the third time with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win. Rublev will be playing in his sixth quarter-final at the majors but has yet to progress further. French Open champion and world No 1 Iga Swiatek became the first Polish woman to reach the US Open quarter-finals. Swiatek recovered from a set and a break down to see off 108th-ranked German opponent Jule Niemeier, 2-6, 6-4, 6-0. Swiatek will face US eighth seed Jessica Pegula for a place in the semi-finals. Pegula became the second American woman into the last-eight after brushing aside two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-2. World number six Aryna Sabalenka reached the quarter-finals for a second successive year with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over Australian Open runner-up Danielle Collins. The Belarusian will face 2016 runner-up Karolina Pliskova who downed three-time finalist Victoria Azarenka 7-5, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2.