Rafael Nadal outlasts Dominic Thiem in five-set US Open thriller

World No.1 ...

Posted: Sep 5, 2018 2:34 PM
Updated: Sep 5, 2018 2:35 PM

World No.1 Rafael Nadal beat Dominic Thiem in a grueling five-set quarterfinal, recovering from a disastrous opening set to clinch the match in dramatic style.

Finishing just after 2 a.m local time, the defending champion saw off his younger Austrian opponent 0-6 6-4 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-5) in what was his longest match at the US Open.

Dominic Thiem

Rafael Nadal

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Top seed Nadal said "suffering" was the "right word" to describe the 4 hour, 48 minute contest.

"It's been a great battle, the conditions were tough, a lot of humidity. It was a very tough start, I tried to stay in the match in the second set," the Spaniard said on court.

"I just (kept) going, I'm very sorry for Dominic, he's a close friend on tour, a great guy, and I wish him all the very best.

"He's young, he has plenty of time to win big tournaments. He's a fighter, he has a great attitude. I'm sure he will have his chances in the future."

The 32-year-old Nadal, a three-time champion at Flushing Meadows, will play third seed Juan Martín del Potro in the semifinals.

READ: Williams makes it through to the semifinals

Nadal was overpowered by ninth seed Thiem -- the only man to beat him on clay for the last two seasons -- in the first set as the 25-year-old hit 13 winners and made only two unforced errors in an extraordinary start.

But the 17-time grand slam champion battled back to win the second and third sets before Thiem came out on top of an 81-minute fourth set to take the match into a nerve-wracking decider.

At 5-5 and 0-40, Thiem saved all three break points and forced the fifth set into a tiebreak, but it was Nadal who came out on top when the Austrian sent a smash long.

It meant the Spaniard avoided following world No.2 Roger Federer, who surprisingly lost to world No.55 John Millman Monday, out of the competition.

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"This match is going to be stuck in my mind forever -- tennis is cruel sometimes," Thiem, comprehensively beaten by Nadal in June's French Open final, told reporters.

"This match didn't deserve a loser, but there has to be one."

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