Nadal feeling fortunate after edging Thiem in thriller

Nadal feeling fortunate after edging Thiem in thriller

Nadal feeling fortunate after edging Thiem in thriller

Defending champion Rafael Nadal dug deep to win the longest match of this year's US Open in a classic five-set quarter-final against Dominic Thiem - which finished at 2:03am local time. Nadal after worst start with the loss of 6-0 bounced back to beat No. 9 Dominic Thiem with 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5) at a third consecutive Grand Slam tournament.

Nadal next faces 2009 champion Juan Martín del Potro in the semi-finals.

Under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium, Nadal and Thiem delivered the NY crowd another memorable marathon, this time for a spot in the US Open semifinals. The fourth was a wild 81-minute ride that began with Thiem facing break points, saw the Austrian threaten a double break before being pegged back and then a tired Nadal miss a chance to win the match.

After suffering a first set "bagel", Nadal had to battle back from breaks in the third and fourth sets before seeing off the first top 20 player he had faced at the US Open since 2013.

In an epic encounter that saw both players come up with some brilliant tennis, Nadal called on all his experience as he battled hot and humid conditions to triumph in a deciding set tiebreak after Thiem sent a smash long. But after Nadal came within two points of victory, Thiem wound up taking the fourth set 7-6 (4).

The marathon tussle continued in the fifth and final set, Thiem fending off a triple break point by coming from love-40 down to make Nadal serve to stay in the championship and three-time US Open victor did before prevailing in a do-or-die tie-breaker. "I'm playing a lot of hours this year at this lovely stadium".

Despite lasting just short of five hours - the longest match of the tournament thus far - the quality never waned, and while the ninth seed appeared to have more left in the tank, Nadal's grit and determination dragged him through.

"It will be a very tough one", Nadal added of his last-four tie.

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"I'm going to remember this match, for sure".

"It's going to be stuck in my mind", he said.

"He's young, he has plenty of time to win big tournaments", he said on court. Of course, now I'm devastated a little bit.

Instead Nadal is facing Dominic Thiem who already has an upset under his belt.

The fourth was another evenly matched affair, Thiem threatening the Nadal serve in game five before snatching a break two games later.

By virtue of losing the opening set against John Isner, Del Potro ensured the US Open will remain the only grand slam in the Open era where no man has won the singles title without dropping a set.

Del Potro admitted the 33-degree temperatures proved a real challenge with the 10-minute heat rule allowing the players a welcome respite after the third set. But Nadal, after letting the 25-second serve clock expire, rallied to win the point and hold for a 5-4 lead.

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