Rafael Nadal defeats Dominic Thiem in US Open quarter-final

Rafael Nadal defeats Dominic Thiem in US Open quarter-final

Rafael Nadal defeats Dominic Thiem in US Open quarter-final

Defending champion Rafael Nadal remains on course for a fourth US Open title, but only just, after being taken to a fifth-set tiebreak by Dominic Thiem in a late-night quarter-final at Flushing Meadows.

Thiem became the first player since Andy Roddick in 2004 to win a love set against Nadal in NY but the Spaniard once again dug deep to come out on top of a gruelling battle played in more punishing humidity.

Most players would have been left deflated after falling behind in such a manner but Thiem was not in that category - the former world number four raising his game another level to take out the tie-break, having surrendered 3-1 and 4-2 leads against Nadal, who saved six break points in the set.

The 4:48 match was the longest of Thiem's career-the 25-year-old had never played a match longer than four hours-and the longest one Nadal has played at the U.S. Open.

"Very demanding in all aspects", Nadal said later. "The conditions were tough, humid".

"In the first set I only won seven points, I hadn't started and it could've been very unpleasant".

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

"I don't think he's really sorry", said Thiem with a smile. "I just wish him all the very, very best". The quarterfinal between Nadal and Thiem had night-match classic written all over it, and the Spaniard and the Austrian delivered.

It was only the fourth time in his long grand slam history that Nadal had lost a set 6-0 and just the third time at any level in almost seven years.

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It is the first time in the Open era that Japan is represented in the semi-finals of both the main draws at the same grand slam. It was another hot afternoon Wednesday, with temperatures in the 30s C, but feeling much hotter due to the humidity.

Nadal won the third set 7-5, and seemed to be on the verge of winning the fourth.

"I'm so happy to reach another semi-finals in my favourite tournament", del Potro said in his on-court interview.

Nadal said he had told Thiem he was sorry for the result although the Austrian laughed off that consolation from his close friend.

"Tennis is sometimes cruel, this game didn't deserve a loser but there has to be one and, if we skip the first set, we were well matched from start to finish", he noted.

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.

Nadal evened the match by breaking in the final game of the second set.

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.

He revealed that he'd offered his condolences to ninth seed Thiem at the net, telling him that he was a good player and urging him to keep going.

Williams, seeded 17th, meets the last player to beat her at the U.S. Open. The Spaniard prevailed in four sets, but Basilashvili played an awesome tennis hitting a lot of winners.

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