Nadal survives five set epic at US Open

10 September, 2018, 01:05 | Author: Anita Tucker
  • US Open Dominic Thiem upends Kevin Anderson to reach the quarters

Dominic Thiem, of Austria, reacts after losing a point to Rafael Nadal, of Spain, during the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, in NY.

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. But after Nadal came within two points of victory, Thiem wound up taking the fourth set 7-6 (4).

The 32-year-old managed to clinch a 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5) victory over his Austrian opponent in an epic five-set clash that lasted four hours and 49 minutes.

"When these things happen, normally I am not the guy that looks at the string or looks at the box or looks at the racket", said Nadal, who absorbed a 6-0 loss of the opening set, winning just seven points as Thiem rode roughshod over him in 24 minutes. "The conditions were tough and very humid", he said.

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"Yeah, of course, I played a lot of long and tough matches in my career".

Nadal moves to 8-3 all time against the Austrian to set up a semifinal match against No. 3 seed Juan Martín del Potro on Friday. Natural reaction from Nadal is to hope that your opponent gives you the third set.

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'm so happy to reach another semi-finals in my favourite tournament", del Potro said in his on-court interview. "Tennis is cruel sometimes because I think this match didn't really deserve a loser".

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"To reach the semifinal again here in NY in my favourite tournament is very special to me", said Del Potro after his eighth win over Isner in 12 meetings.

"He's young, he has plenty of time to win big tournaments", he said on court. But, as in the second set, when the time came to keep his foot on Nadal's throat, he instead loosened the pressure and lived to regret it.

"It is good to have two days that probably give me the chance to be 100% in the semi-finals", Nadal added.

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. As usual, he had to do it without the benefit of many cheap points; he hit just three aces, 15 fewer than Thiem. Law and Whitaker say it feels like there's an irresistible force behind del Potro that's pushing him to the title. "Forever I'm going to remember this match". The giant American was presented with the US Open sportsmanship award following the quarter-final to recognise his conduct during the tournament and the warm-up events. Both maintained serves in the 120s and showed little sign of fatigue playing through long rallies more than four hours into the match.

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"To play John in these kind of matches, it's like an epic".

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