Rafael Nadal bests Dominic Thiem in 'demanding' U.S. Open quarter-final

Jo Caldwell
September 6, 2018

The match, which carried on until after 2 a.m. before ending 0-6 6-4 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-5), was Nadal's longest at the US Open.

The last time Nadal failed to get on the scoreboard in an opening set was against Philipp Kohlschreiber at the Miami Open a year ago, though he went on to win the other sets 6-2 and 6-3.

"You are very good", Nadal said. "It was a real battle". "Had been a very tough start for me". For me it was... Until the fifth-set tiebreaker, the first contested so far this tournament, it was truly any man's game to win.

After holding at love in game 11, Rafa converted the third set point with a forehand down the line victor for four games in a row and 7-5, moving a set away from the place in the semi-final.

There are no chill Rafael Nadal matches, like oh cool, I'll watch some tennis and my blood pressure will stay level. Some patented Nadal scrambling forced Thiem to take one more swing, an overhead, and the 25-year-old Austrian pulled it long.

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"I'm very sorry for Dominic", Nadal told a rowdy crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadium. The fourth was an 81-minute rollercoaster ride, where Nadal came within two points of winning only for Thiem to take the tie-break. I don't want to lose against anybody.

His victory against the world number one in the Madrid semi-finals ended Nadal´s 50-set clay win streak which began after the Austrian had beaten him in Rome 12 months earlier.

Nadal had to work hard for the third set, which he won 7-5, but saw the game tied to 2-2 after losing the fourth set 7-6 to Dominic Thiem. "I hope that we have many more in the future with a different end". He always plays and practices with a great attitude.

He said: "I have my trophy at home. I did it sometime against him, but it's a risky game style because it can happen that I make too many mistake, and then it looks black".

Nadal was completely dismantled by Thiem in the first set as the American crowd was shocked into silence in NY, the Austrian hitting vaporizing forehands and backhands to wrap up the opener in just 24 minutes - tallying 13 winners, five aces and 24 points in total compared to just seven from the former. "He's a close friend on tour, a great guy and I wish him the very best".

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Next up for the top seed is a semi-final clash with big-serving Argentine and third seed Juan Martin del Potro.

"After that first set", Nadal said, "the match became more normal". I think we nearly all the time have great matches.

Sevastova, who retired from tennis in 2013 due to injuries before returning in 2015, almost let Stephens into the match in the second set as the American twice pulled back on serve at 2-1 and again at 4-3, but the fightback proved short-lived.

Though the match was played in the night session, allowing Nadal and Thiem to avoid the searing daytime temperatures that have had a significant impact on the tournament, the ninth seed still felt the conditions played their part.

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