Ball boy narrowly avoids vicious Lucas Pouille backhand during Rafael Nadal thriller

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Lucas Pouille came through a thrilling five setter against two-time US Open champion Rafa Nadal on Sunday to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in New York. 

The 22-year-old Frenchman produced a fine display to reach his second Grand Slam quarter-final of the year and served up a plethora of sublime rallies with Nadal in a thoroughly entertaining match.

The intensity and brutal nature of the match even spilled over to the ballboys at the start of the fourth set.


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With Nadal serving at 1-1, Pouille moved out wide to his left before striking a powerful backhand that whistled by one ballboy before striking the umpire's chair just inches away from another's face.

A narrow escape for the young man! 

It has been a hazardous year for the ballboys of the professional tennis circuit after a young man tripped and fell into a wall earlier in the season at the Barcelona Open.

You can see the near miss in the video below.

It was yet more disappointment for Nadal though as he continues his quest for a 15th Grand Slam title after a string of injuries that have hampered the last two years of his career.

The 30-year-old has not won a slam since the French Open back in 2014, his longest stretch since he won his first back in 2005. 

The fourth seed said the following after the match: "There were things I could do better. Had the right attitude. I [fought] right up to the last ball...I can play better. I can play worse. The only thing that cannot be bad is the attitude. Today the attitude was great. That's it.

"Doesn't matter if you go through injuries; doesn't matter if you arrived with less preparation. At the end of the day, nobody remember that. You know, you lost in the fourth round and that's it."

It is the first time since 2003 that neither Roger Federer or Nadal will be present in the last eight. 

Pouille will go on to face fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils in the quarters, and was clearly overjoyed after ousting Nadal.

"It took everything. I could not dream better than that," the world's 25th ranked player said after the gruelling four-hour encounter.

The young Frenchman displayed some fine baseline hitting against Nadal and even produced some rare finesse at the net in a performance that highlighted both his strength and potential.

Coming through a tough match like this against a storied champion will only serve him well going forward, and Pouille has a real chance to go deeper in to this tournament when he comes up against Monfils later in the week. 

Is Rafael Nadal's career coming to an end? Have YOUR say in the comment section below!

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US Open Tennis
Stanislas Wawrinka
Rafael Nadal
Novak Djokovic
Serena Williams
Roger Federer
Andy Murray

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