Nadal outlasts Thiem in marathon U.S. Open quarterfinal

Nadal outlasts Thiem in marathon U.S. Open quarterfinal

Nadal outlasts Thiem in marathon U.S. Open quarterfinal

That's just what the 17-time Grand Slam champion did over the course of a 4-hour 49-minute epic that concluded at 2:04 a.m. on Wednesday, September 5.

It was Rafael Nadal's 12th successive victory in the US Open and with the win, the world number one has now managed to win every single quarter-final match he has appeared in the US Open since 2006.

In the end, the top-seeded and defending champion Nadal moved into the U.S. Open semifinals with an 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7, 7-6 win over Thiem in what was a rematch of this year's French Open final.

Nadal, the world No 1 from Spain, put a awful start behind him - he won just seven points in the first set - to overcome the formidable challenge of Thiem, the world No 9 from Austria, 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-5).

However, the 32-year-old was fortunate to triumph on another hot and humid night at Flushing Meadows, 24 hours after Roger Federer had been dumped out of the tournament by John Millman.

While that encounter was settled in straight sets, Thiem was agonisingly close to his first major victory over Nadal on this occasion, and seeing the opportunity slip from his grasp is something that he says will never leave him. The Austrian blasted 13 winners, made only two unforced errors and allowed Nadal just seven points in winning an extraordinary opening set.

"He's maybe playing some of the best tennis ever right now for him", said the American. "Besides this first set, it was just an open and great game". But, as in the second set, when the time came to keep his foot on Nadal's throat, he instead loosened the pressure and lived to regret it. Thiem was broken serving for the set and then could not hold on for the tie-break, saving two set points but not a third after planting a volley wide with the whole of the court available. I fought until the end.

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Thiem told a post-match media conference: "It's going to be stuck in my mind forever. He will have his chances in the future without a doubt", the Spanish tennis player said. The fifth set brought a great tennis as well, with Thiem saving two break points at 2-2 to remain on the positive side of the scoreboard.

The disappointment of failing to create a first match point seemed to weigh on him in the tiebreak and he played it dreadfully, showing rare confusion in going 0-3 down and then losing it 7-4.

"In the first set I only won seven points, I hadn't started and it could've been very unpleasant. Tough match against a great opponent".

The Croatian needed a medical timeout in the second set and was then blown away by Del Potro's booming forehand in the third, surrendering the set in just 30 minutes.

But the 25-year-old Austrian was ultimately the one bowing out of the US Open; the scoreline reading 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7, 7-6.

"On clay, I think it´s one of the biggest challenges in sports to beat this guy or to compete with this guy". I think we nearly all the time have great matches.

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