Nadal 'bagelled' but survives Thiem test to reach semis
06 September, 2018, 02:33 | Author: Drew Briggs
However, the 32-year-old was fortunate to triumph on another hot and humid night at Flushing Meadows, 24 hours after Roger Federer had been dumped out of the tournament by John Millman.
In an interview after his titanic battle, the 32-year-old Nadal gave credit to his opponent saying the match was very demanding in all aspects after almost five hours on court.
He said: "I have my trophy at home".
This rematch of the French Open final in June, won by Nadal, was his first match against a top-20 opponent at the U.S. Open since 2013, when he beat then-No. "He has a great attitude and is a great fighter", added Nadal.
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.
The semi-final will pit Nadal against third seed Juan Martin del Potro for the second successive Grand Slam. He has now won seven U.S. Open quarterfinals in a row when he's made it that far; his only loss in that round came back in 2006.
"After that first set", Nadal said, "the match became more normal".
Del Potro, champion in 2009, got an early break to go 3-1 up in the first before Coric fought back to level at 4-4, converting the only break point he carved out in the match.
Most players would have been left deflated after falling behind in such a manner, but Thiem was not in that category-- the former world No. 4 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.
But he took the tiebreaker before Nadal just proved the steadier of the two in the final set decider.
Asked about that at his news conference, Thiem said with a chuckle: "Well, I don't think he's really sorry".
The Austrian was heartbroken but proud, saying: "It's going to be stuck in my mind forever". It's cruel sometimes tennis, because I think this match didn't really deserve a loser. But there has to be one.
This was tennis at its absolute best, according to David Law (BBC 5 Live) and Catherine Whitaker (Amazon Prime Video), and also a brilliant advert for fifth set tiebreaks.
The opener looked to be heading for a tiebreak before Del Potro dispatched a backhand volley to earn himself two more break points in the 10th game. Thiem's power off both flanks is what had ultimately undone Nadal on clay on those two occasions and seemed like it would prevail in their first hard-court meeting on Tuesday evening as the Austrian stormed to 6-0 in the opening set in mere 24 minutes.
The Spaniard, chasing a fourth US Open crown, was shut out in the first set when he failed to win a game for only the fourth time in 282 career matches at majors. "Tough match against a great opponent". "I don't think he's really sorry", said the 25-year-old.
"But, no, he's a great guy", Thiem said. They have more value, more personal value, when you come back from tough moments, no?
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