US Open day nine: Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem in marathon match
10 September, 2018, 18:54 | Author: Isabel Grant
'I feel sorry for Dominic, he is a great guy and a great player. He's a great guy, a great player.
As one American star lost in the main draw Tuesday, another of the country's rising stars was on display at the U.S. Open.
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.
Nadal will now face the third-seeded Juan Martin del Potro in the semifinals. Nadal was sweating so much in the 90-degree heat and 50-per cent humidity that a mountain of white towels formed next to his changeover bench.
Number one seed Nadal said his legs were feeling the strain at the end of the marathon session, which see-sawed back and forth between the Spaniard and his younger Austrian opponent, before a nerve-wracking fifth set ended even to send it to a tiebreak. "Have been a very tough start for me". I had the chance to really appreciate all the things that happened to me during my career because I had in different moments tough injuries.
Meanwhile, Thiem said his epic defeat to close friend Nadal i will "stay with me forever".
Those choruses resonated in the arena after key points, such as each time del Potro erased one of Isner's break chances, three in all.
"It will be a very tough one", Nadal added of his last-four tie. He overcame the Argentine at the same stage at Flushing Meadows last year before doing so in the last four at this year's French Open and then winning a five-set encounter in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.
But the fact that Nadal won and Federer did not was hardly the only difference in these two matches.
"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. Of course, now I'm devastated a little bit.
Thiem broke three times in a 24-minute first set on Tuesday, handing Nadal just his third "bagel" at a Grand Slam.
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.
Twenty-four hours after Roger Federer fell to John Millman, his old rival avoided following him out of the tournament, but only just, completing a 0-6 6-4 7-5 6-7 (4/7) 7-6 (7/5) victory at 2.03am U.S. time.
Nadal recovered from being broken as he served for the second set in the ninth game with an immediate break back to level the contest. He had won 171 points, Nadal 166. "Forever I'm going to remember this match, for sure", said Thiem after his first ever hard court match against Nadal. "I mean, it's cruel sometimes tennis, you know, because I think this match didn't really deserve a loser".
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