Serena, Stephens try to reach semifinals at U.S. Open
Sep 08, 2018, 02:17
Rafael Nadal, of Spain, celebrates after defeating Dominic Thiem, of Austria, during the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, early Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018, in NY.
The reigning US Open champion and world number one endured a gruelling match against ninth-seeded Thiem, who swept the first set 6-0 on Tuesday night, reports EFE news agency.
When Thiem finally broke down, with a botched smash on match point, the clock showed 2.04am in NY and the match duration was 4 hours 49 minutes, making it Nadal's longest ever match at Flushing Meadows.
Del Potro, the No. 3 seed, got to the semifinals by defeating No. 11 John Isner 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-2.
Rafael Nadal, of Spain, sits during a changeover in his match against Dominic Thiem, of Austria, during the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open tennis tournament early Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018, in NY.
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.
Rafael Nadal began his U.S. Open quarterfinal as poorly as possible, shut out in a set by a 6-0 score for only the fourth time in 282 career Grand Slam matches. Nadal had also played the second-longest match of this year's tournament: his four-set win over Karen Khachanov in the third round, which lasted four hours, 23 minutes. "I guess to keep your cool and be a good sport is very important".
In the fifth, Nadal held three break points at 5-all, love-40, but Thiem took the next five points told serve.
The marathon tussle continued in the fifth and final set, Thiem fending off a triple break point by coming from love-40 down to make Nadal serve to stay in the championship and three-time US Open victor did before prevailing in a do-or-die tie-breaker. "A question of a little bit of luck at the end".
"He's young, he has plenty of time to win big tournaments".
"It has been physically demanding because the conditions have been tough out there, too".
The Nadal who was gassed and wearing a cooling vest during breaks in the first set was no more.
It was the first still moment in almost five hours of epic, smash-ball, anything-you-can-hit-I-can-hit-harder tennis.
"To play John in these kind of matches, it's like an epic". I think we nearly all the time have great matches. I don't want to lose against anybody.
Del Potro's victory was no walk in the park either, the Argentinian battling through strength-sapping heat and humidity to win 6-7 (5/7) 6-3 7-6 (7/4) 6-2.
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