US Open 2018: Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem in epic quarter-final

Rafael Nadal

Defending champion Rafa Nadal failed to win a single game in the opening set of his U.S. Open quarter-final against Dominic Thiem on Tuesday but fought back to beat the Austrian 0-6 6-4 7-5 6-7 (4) 7-6 (5) in a match that ended after 2 a.m.in NY.

Rafael Nadal began his U.S. Open quarterfinal as poorly as possible, shut out in a set by a 6-0 score for only the fourth time in 282 career Grand Slam matches. The fourth was an 81-minute rollercoaster ride, where Nadal came within two points of winning only for Thiem to take the tie-break.

The 32-year-old managed to clinch a 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5) victory over his Austrian opponent in an epic five-set clash that lasted four hours and 49 minutes.

Rafael Nadal had his longest match ever at the US Open on Tuesday, and he eventually emerged victorious over Dominic Thiem.

"It's been a great battle", an exhausted Nadal said.

He was two solid very tough matches in a row now.' Wilander also commented on Nadal's game and its possible improvements: 'I would like to see Rafa go forward a little bit more, but we have to remember that it's the second week and they wanna try to preserve as much energy as possible.

'I had a tough start and then I stayed in the match in some way.

He will play Argentine third seed Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 champion, in Friday's semi-finals.

"I don't think I have another 10 years of having opportunities to be able to play and win championships", Williams said. "I just wish him all the very, very best".

The two big men battered each other to near exhaustion in the heat and humidity but it was the third seed who proved the stronger to prevail 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 in three-and-a-half hours. "I told myself "wake up", said Nadal. He is a close friend on tour and a great player.

"I think in the last three sets I improved".

"To reach the semifinal again here in NY in my favourite tournament is very special to me", said Del Potro after his eighth win over Isner in 12 meetings.

After suffering a first set "bagel", Nadal had to battle back from breaks in the third and fourth sets before seeing off the first top 20 player he had faced at the US Open since 2013. "That's one more today", he said after his 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/5) win.

"It's going to be stuck in my mind forever", Thiem said. "He is young and has plenty of time to win tournaments". But he took the tiebreaker before Nadal just proved the steadier of the two in the final set decider. "But I just keep going". Law and Whitaker say it feels like there's an irresistible force behind del Potro that's pushing him to the title. But the challenge of playing him on hard of course is even higher for me personally than playing against him on clay.

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