Defending champion Rafa Nadal failed to win a single game in the opening set of his U.S. Open quarter-final against Dominic Thiem on Tuesday but fought back to beat the Austrian 0-6 6-4 7-5 6-7 (4) 7-6 (5) in a match that ended after 2 a.m.in NY.
Nadal had a horror start to the match, with Thiem racing through the first set 6-0 in 23 minutes, just the second time in his US Open career that the Spaniard has lost a set 6-0. For even though Thiem had won more points, been ahead in three of the five sets, powered 74 winners, he froze in the big moments while Nadal flew.
In a match that lasts 4 hours and 49 minutes, Dominic Thiem's shot goes long, giving Rafael Nadal the win in a tiebreak.
Rafael Nadal, of Spain, sits during a changeover in his match against Dominic Thiem, of Austria, during the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open tennis tournament early Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018, in NY.
"Very demanding, in all aspects", said Nadal, who will face 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro on Friday for a berth in the final. This sport is tough, so it's so easy to get very frustrated out there on the court when things aren't going your way.
Nadal may not be as scucsessul in NY as he is in Paris, but with three US Open titles to his name, he's still won more than most and his pedigree started to show as the second set started. "I played some good ones before, but not that long, not that long against the great guys on the Grand Slam stage", Thiem said.
Thiem had clearly learnt the lessons of his loss and came out all guns blazing, taking the opening set to love as Nadal struggled to keep up with his younger opponent's aggressive play.
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Nadal won the third set 7-5, and seemed to be on the verge of winning the fourth.
He said: "I have my trophy at home". "I mean, it's cruel sometimes tennis, because I think this match didn't really deserve a loser".
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. Thiem had an early 3-0 lead in the tie-breaker, and was able to close it out on his second set point.
Perhaps Thiem, after a change of socks and shoes, looked the fresher going into the decider but he needed to save two break points at 2-2, one with an ace, to maintain parity.
"I like people who try hard to achieve their goals and he is one of them".
Pliskova is the last woman to beat Williams at the U.S. Open, eliminating her in the semifinals two years ago. "Beating John in these kind of matches is like an epic, an epic match". "But in a few days I will look back and will remember how great it was to play in front of a packed Arthur Ashe this great match". Both maintained serves in the 120s and showed little sign of fatigue playing through long rallies more than four hours into the match.