Nadal downs Thiem in an epic battle

Sherman Parsons
September 7, 2018

After dropping the first set, 6-0, in a lackadaisical performance, Nadal fought back throughout the 4-hour 49-minute match to ultimately win, 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5).

World number one Nadal had only lost a set 6-0 at a grand slam on three previous occasions - the 2015 Australian Open, 2006 Wimbledon and the 2004 US Open - but that changed against rampant ninth seed Thiem in the opening set on Tuesday.

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When it ended, on an overhead by Thiem that sailed long, Nadal climbed over net to hug his opponent and whisper words of encouragement.

Instead Nadal is facing Dominic Thiem who already has an upset under his belt.

By this time, both players were drenched in sweat playing on a muggy 85-degree NY night. But Nadal was ready for the moment, breaking Thiem to tie the set at 5-5.

The longest match of the US Open so far saw top seed Nadal comprehensively beaten in the opening set, before showing all his huge reserves of fight and spirit to knock out the ninth seed.

Thiem has endured some tough moments in NY so far, including a come-from-behind five-set victory over Steve Johnson in the second round, but he put on a more assured performance in the fourth round when he steamrollered the unsafe Kevin Anderson in straight sets.

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.

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He is bidding for a fourth title at Flushing Meadows and 18th Grand Slam trophy overall.

Serena Williams began her U.S. Open quarterfinal tentatively. He came through 5-7 7-5 7-6 7-6, but was again taken to four by Hamburg champion Nikoloz Basilashvili, before beating the Georgian 6-3 6-3 6-7 6-4.

During that earlier quarterfinal, Isner doubled over and rested his elbows on his knees. He looked as if he wanted to be anywhere but where he was: falling further and further behind in energy-robbing heat.

"The conditions have been tough out there, too. I don't know if I can get a new one, but I'm doing all my best to try to get it again".

"For sure, also, this court helped me", Thiem said. She stressed her focus would be on "creating an environment of empowerment where all have a strong voice and we are dedicated every single day to athlete safety".

Nadal won just seven points for the entire set, his nine unforced errors handing the set to Thiem on a plate.

The 33-year-old Isner is the tournament leader in aces and was nailing them against Raonic with 140 miles per hour serves.

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

After an epic US Open quarter-final that lasted nearly five hours, Rafael Nadal paid tribute to his opponent, Dominic Thiem.

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