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

Tennis US Open

How tense and tight was this one?

The match, which carried on until after 2 a.m. before ending 0-6 6-4 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-5), was Nadal's longest at the U.S. Open. "It was a very tough start, I tried to stay in the match in the second set", the Spaniard said on court. Nadal climbed over the net to hug his opponent, then whisper an apology and words of encouragement. "I guess to keep your cool and be a good sport is very important". And I played against a great opponent. Happy, of course, to be in semi-finals again, it means a lot to me.

"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.

Nadal, who was on court for four hours and 48 minutes in a tie which finished at 2.04am local time in NY (7.04am BST), commented on the humidity of the playing conditions that has troubled so many players in this year's Open, and broke down his performance. 1 Novak Djokovic in the final. Since mid-May, Nadal is 27-1 and only seems to be getting stronger.

In the first Nadal was all over the place, totally unable to find any rhythm and a set down after just 26 minutes when he won just seven points.

Nadal appreciated his victory as much as Williams appreciated hers.

When the ninth-seeded Thiem forced deuce in that game, Nadal rewarded his friend with a small clap from the other end of the court.

Rafael Nadal in action against Dominic Thiem at the US Open. Still, this whole contest was filled with challenges for Nadal.

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There were no breaks of serve in the deciding set and a second tiebreak ensued. Unfortunately for Thiem, he's going to have to remember the fact that, after running, fighting, swinging, and sweating for 4 hours and 49 minutes, he came up two points short of victory.

"It was a very tough start", Nadal said.

When Nadal makes it this far in NY, he usually doesn't stumble.

The U.S. open championship 2018 will finish on 9 September. He grimaced. He shook his head. Me, too, I think. "It's just very hard to deal with". I like to see that trophy every single day. 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. "Beating John in these kind of matches is like an epic, an epic match". As usual, he had to do it without the benefit of many cheap points; he hit just three aces, 15 fewer than Thiem. Still, it was Isner who struck first, closing the opening tiebreaker with a 132 miles per hour (212 kph) ace down the middle.

Nadal holds an 11-5 record against Del Potro.

He managed to take the next three, though, and now meets Nadal for the 17th time on tour.

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.

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