Nadal and Thiem quarterfinal match should be a dandy one
Sep 08, 2018, 02:18
Defending champion Rafael Nadal failed to win a single game in the opening set of his US Open quarter-final against Dominic Thiem but fought back to beat the Austrian 0-6 6-4 7-5 6-7 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5) in a match that ended after 2am.
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.
The semi-final will pit Nadal against third seed and 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro for the second successive Grand Slam tournament.
"Very demanding in all aspects", Nadal said of his triumph at a post-match media conference.
Nadal was completely dismantled by Thiem in the first set as the American crowd was shocked into silence in NY, the Austrian hitting vaporising forehands and backhands to wrap up the opener in just 24 minutes - tallying 13 winners, five aces and 24 points in total compared to just seven from the former. "After that first set, then the match became more normal", said Nadal.
Thiem did not relent, however, and kept hammering away from the baseline to earn a chance to serve for the third set up 5-4. Yeah, it was [a] question of little bit of luck at the end.
"What is important about this match is the level of tennis, the dramatic match", Nadal said. "The only thing that I was thinking was to finish this first set and forget about this start". But Thiem saved all three break points before denying Nadal a fourth opportunity with a stunning volley at the end of a remarkable point.
"I mean, he's a great guy".
"It's going to be stuck in my mind forever".
Nadal has reached at least the quarter-finals in all four Grand Slams this year - the first time he has achieved the feat since 2011.
Having looked the more tired of the two, it was Nadal who was applying the greater pressure and at 5-5, 0-40 it seemed this was his chance. He walked quietly to the center of the court, then stepped over the net and embraced 25-year-old Dominic Thiem.
In one of many memorable points, Nadal hit a almost ideal half volley, only to see Thiem beat him with a flawless crosscourt pass. I tried to stay in the match some way in the second set.
"I played a lot of long and tough matches in my career".
The Nadal who was gassed and wearing a cooling vest during breaks in the first set was no more. I think we nearly all the time have great matches.
Despite that, the 29-year-old was never broken in the 3 hour 31 minute match where Isner unleashed 26 aces but was undone by 52 unforced errors compared to Del Potro's 14.
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