US Open 2018: Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem in epic quarter-final

Rafael Nadal was pushed to the very limit by a spirited Dominic Thiem in their US Open quarter-final on Tuesday night, with the Spanaird prevailing 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5) in a blockbuster tie at Flushing Meadows.

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

Thiem was 4-2 ahead in the fourth set before he was again reeled in and he was two points from defeat in the 12th game.

This is a rematch of the French Open final, won by Nadal in June.

"A great battle", Nadal told ESPN. "The conditions were tough, very humid for me". "It was a very tough start, I tried to stay in the match in the second set", he said on court after securing passage to the semifinals. For me it was a very tough start.

Nadal was overpowered by ninth seed Thiem - the only man to beat him on clay for the last two seasons - in the first set as the 25-year-old hit 13 winners and made only two unforced errors in an extraordinary start.

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.

The Spaniard was able to bounce back and win the next two sets 6-4, 7-5, but not without a fight from Thiem. "But in few days I will look back and will remember how great it was to play in front of a packed Arthur Ashe - this great match".

"I think in the last three sets I improved". "I mean, it's cruel sometimes tennis, because I think this match didn't really deserve a loser".

After suffering a first set "bagel", Nadal had to battle back from breaks in the third and fourth sets before seeing off the first top 20 player he had faced at the US Open since 2013.

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

The Spaniard recovered from losing the first set 6-0 but admitted the toss of a coin could've won the tie-breaks.

"It's going to be stuck in my mind forever", Thiem said. "That's one more today", he said after his 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/5) win. Law and Whitaker say it feels like there's an irresistible force behind del Potro that's pushing him to the title.

"(I am) sad for him because when [he arrived at] this moment, he did all the things well to win the 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. "I'm playing a lot of hours this year at this attractive stadium".

She then dropped her racket and held her hands to her face as a Stephens shot went into the net on the match's final point.

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

  • Stacy Allen