Rafael Nadal outlasts Thiem in 5-set U.S. Open thriller

Rafael Nadal outlasts Thiem in 5-set U.S. Open thriller

Javier Howell
September 10, 2018

The defending champion needed almost five hours to defeat ninth seed Dominic Thiem in a deciding tie-break after losing the opening set 6-0 and will face Juan Martin del Potro on Friday in a rematch of last year's semi-final.

The opening set was only the fourth time in 282 career Grand Slam matches that Nadal lost a set 6-0 and this was the first time he had been victorious after doing so.

But in a titanic battle worthy of a final, with stunning winners on both racquets and breathtaking defence, top seed Nadal rallied to outlast Thiem 0-6 6-4 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-5) in the longest match of this year's tournament - four hours and 49 minutes.

Dominic Thiem will remember the day he nearly beat Rafael Nadal at a Grand Slam. "Very demanding in all aspects", Nadal said of the match.

He was two solid very tough matches in a row now.' Wilander also commented on Nadal's game and its possible improvements: 'I would like to see Rafa go forward a little bit more, but we have to remember that it's the second week and they wanna try to preserve as much energy as possible. "It was a very tough start, I tried to stay in the match in the second set", the Spaniard said on court.

Nadal will now play Argentina's former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro in the semi finals, after the third seed advanced with a four set victory over American John Isner.

"To be honest, I am very, very sorry for Dominic", he added.

Nadal said that losing the first set by 6-0 was not in his plan but he accepted it with "humility", while in the fifth he had "more options" than Thiem.

Arizona Vietnamese Community Holds Candlelight Vigil For Sen. John McCain
McCain served as a naval pilot in the Vietnam War, spending five years as a prisoner of war after his plane was shot down in 1967. Governor of Arizona State Doug Ducey will appoint a nominee for the place of John McCain from the state in the U.S.

Defending champion Nadal suffered a "bagel" in the first set but still won 0-6 6-4 7-5 5-7 7-6 to avoid the same fate as Roger Federer.

"I am the guy to look at myself", Nadal said. And I played against a great opponent. "Tennis is cruel sometimes because I think this match didn't really deserve a loser".

Nadal then held serve to take a 6-5 lead and closed out the set on Thiem's serve on his third set point.

"He's young, he has plenty of time to win big tournaments".

At this point, Thiem had to ask for a new pair of shoes and socks because his were waterlogged from sweating so much. I had the passion to keep going always'. But he took the tiebreaker before Nadal just proved the steadier of the two in the final set decider. Law and Whitaker say it feels like there's an irresistible force behind del Potro that's pushing him to the title.

"I'm sad for him because when this moment arrived, he did all the things well to win the match".

"It's going to be stuck in my mind forever", Thiem said. He had beaten the 6'6 Argentine at the same stage of the US Open last year and had ended Delpo's campaign at the French (semis) and Wimbledon (quarters) this year as well. He played a good match.