U.S. Open: Nadal survives Thiem test to reach semis

Rafael Nadal

Nadal, the world No 1 from Spain, put a terrible start behind him - he won just seven points in the first set - to overcome the formidable challenge of Thiem, the world No 9 from Austria, 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-5).

Dominic Thiem crushed Rafael Nadal's challenge in the opening set subjugating him 6-0 and the Austrian tried to impose his authority in the second set as well but the Spaniard proved too much for him and won the set 6-4.

Rafael Nadal took the roundabout route again before defeating Nikoloz Basilashvili to set up a fourth-round clash with Dominic Thiem at the US Open.

"It's been a great battle", an exhausted Nadal said of the four hour 49 minute epic.

Nadal met the Austrian in the quarter-finals of the USA open, a tournament the Spaniard has won four times.

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Nadal will face third seed Juan Martin Del Potro in the first of the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows.

"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. I had the chance to really appreciate all the things that happened to me during my career because I had in different moments tough injuries. The way it ended up in the fifth set tiebreaker, from there it's 50-50. While Thiem clearly made the big winners, Nadal just knew when to raise his level by just a solitary notch, that awarded him the win. And, yes, I played against a great opponent.

Anderson was hoping to earn a rematch with Nadal, who beat him previous year in the South African's first Grand Slam final. Thiem, energized after extending the match, held serve to start the set, while Nadal had brushed off the signs of discouragement from the end of the fourth.

Nadal began his US Open campaign with a victory when his compatriot former world #3 David Ferrer was forced to retire in the second set, in what was his final Grand Slam appearance. I could go very far back like I do on clay usually.

"It was not on my mind, but I was pretty close a year ago", Thiem said.

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The world number one worked his way back into the match but he was never in control and Thiem served for the third set. He then rallied past Taylor Fritz 3-6 6-3 7-6 6-4 before beating 2017 finalist Kevin Anderson in straight sets 7-5 6-2 7-6.

Stiller and Nadal go way back, as the actor has participated in charity tennis events with Nadal in the past.

"'Wake up, '" Nadal said he told himself.

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.

"I don't think he's really sorry", said the 25-year-old. But Thiem saved all three break points before denying Nadal a fourth opportunity with a stunning volley at the end of a remarkable point.

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