Published: Wed, September 05, 2018
Sports | By Toni Houston

Rafael Nadal defeats Dominic Thiem in US Open quarter-final

Rafael Nadal defeats Dominic Thiem in US Open quarter-final

"I'm very, very sorry for Dominic", Nadal said.

There was precious little to separate Nadal and Thiem, and in the fifth-set tiebreak, they remained within a point until the last ball.

'It was a great battle and the conditions were tough, ' said the Spaniard of another sticky evening.

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

Nadal has beaten Thiem three times at the French Open and seven times in 10 meetings - all on clay. "Keep going always, you can a little bit more, and that's the only reason I can be where I am today".

Nadal could easily have wrapped it up in the fourth set and missed five break points in the decider, but found a way to take one last opportunity against Thiem and his flowing single handed backhand.

"I suffered, that's the right word", said Nadal after playing his longest ever match at the tournament.

World number one Nadal will seek to continue his US Open title defense, taking on Thiem for a place in the semi-finals.

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Ninth seed Thiem became the first player since Andy Roddick in 2004 to win a love set against Nadal in NY but the defending champion once again dug deep to come out on top of a gruelling battle played in more punishing humidity. Dominic had 13 winners and just two unforced error and it was impossible for Nadal to keep that pace, losing serve at 15 in the opening game of the match after a forehand victor from Thiem.

Dominic blasted three winners in game six to bring the opener home in 24 minutes, producing one of the best sets against Nadal ever and hoping for more in the rest of the match!

At Wimbledon, Nadal came back from two sets to one down to win in five in a quarter-final which stretched to nearly five hours. But the last time, against Philipp Kohlschreiber in Miami last spring, he fought back to win the match.

The tired combatants held serve throughout the fifth - including one triple break point for Nadal - into another tiebreak.

Thiem was 4-2 ahead in the fourth set before he was again reeled in and he was two points from defeat in the 12th game.

With Thiem serving at 5-6 30-30, a desperate lunging forehand looked to be easy pickings for Nadal only for the 32-year-old to net it. The Spaniard saved a break point in games nine and 11 but he stood no chance in the tie break, losing it 7-4 following a routine forehand that he sent into the net, handing the set to his rival and setting up a decider after more than three and a half hours of incredible battle!

Having looked the more tired of the two, it was Nadal who was applying the greater pressure and at 5-5, 0-40 it seemed this was his chance. After saving two break points in game two, Thiem broke in the very next game after a backhand error from Rafa who had to save three break points in game five to stay in contention. The win was sealed when Thiem missed a hard overhead smash long, and Nadal looked to the sky, equal parts overjoyed and relieved.

The Austrian hung his head before being consoled by Nadal who then held his arms aloft in celebration and relief.

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