Nadal survives five set epic at US Open

Nadal survives five set epic at US Open

Nadal survives five set epic at US Open

There was no let-up in the tie-break and, after four hours and 49 minutes, it was Nadal who claimed victory when Thiem sent a smash long.

The victory, which puts the defending champion through to his third consecutive Grand Slam semifinal, came hours after Williams booked her 12th U.S. Open semifinal and the night after Roger Federer was ousted by the unseeded Australian John Millman in the fourth round.

Tennis great Rafael Nadal outlasted Dominic Thiem in an epic, grueling five-set quarterfinal, turning around his performance from a disastrous opening set to clinch the match in dramatic style.

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.

Spanish star Nadal - facing his fellow seed away from clay for the first time after 10 previous meetings - was 30-29 when losing the first set at a major but he rediscovered his best form to level the match, rising to the challenge by converting both break-point chances - having earned none in the first set - to halt the red-hot Thiem.

"Very demanding in all aspects", Nadal said of his triumph at a post-match media conference.

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.

The fourth set 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.

Thiem got off to a dream start, breaking Nadal three times in succession as he handed Nadal the dreaded bagel in a first set that lasted just 25 minutes. He's a great guy, a great player.

"I am the guy to look at myself", Nadal said. "When the things happen like this, the atmosphere and the crowd become more special".

Asked about that at his news conference, Thiem said with a chuckle: "Well, I don't think he's really sorry". That win should build confidence for Thiem as he takes on the tournament's number one ranked player.

"Forever I'm going to remember this match, for sure", Thiem said. Yeah, it was [a] question of little bit of luck at the end.

The semi-final will pit Nadal against third seed Juan Martin del Potro for the second successive Grand Slam.

But as he showed against Thiem, no one is better with his back against the wall than Nadal.

"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.

Nadal holds an 11-5 record against Del Potro. "Beating John in these kind of matches is like an epic, an epic match". Defending champion Stephens is up first on Arthur Ashe Stadium, facing No. 19 seed Anastasija Sevastova in a rematch of Stephens' three-set victory in the same round at Flushing Meadows past year.

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