Beat Nadal? -- Im not sure, says Thiem

Marcus Newton
September 7, 2018

Georgian Basilashvili had won just a single game against Nadal in their only previous meeting at the French Open past year, but played superbly here to take a set before going down 6-3 6-3 6-7 (6/8) 6-4 after three hours and 18 minutes.

Thiem became the first player since Andy Roddick in 2004 to win a love set against Nadal in NY but the Spaniard once again dug deep to come out on top of a gruelling battle played in more punishing humidity.

Rafael Nadal acknowledged he was fortunate to claim a thrilling US Open quarter-final victory over Dominic Thiem, who he conceded did everything possible to claim victory.

"Suffering is the right word", Nadal said.

After winning the fourth in a tiebreaker, this time drawing an error from Nadal at the net, Thiem found his bearings in the forecourt in the final set, winning seven of his first eight forays forward.

The 32-year-old Nadal, a three-time champion at Flushing Meadows, will play third seed Juan Martín del Potro in the semifinals.

Seeking his 18th grand slam trophy, Nadal was stunned in a first set won to love by Thiem before the Spaniard came back to take the next two. He has plenty of time to win.

Nadal had to regroup again for the fifth set.

The opener looked to be heading for a tiebreak before Del Potro dispatched a backhand volley to earn himself two more break points in the 10th game. For the rest of us who were watching in Ashe Stadium or on TV until 2:04 a.m. Wednesday morning, the memory will be just as long-lasting, but a lot happier. Dominic had 13 winners and just two unforced error and it was impossible for Nadal to keep that pace, losing serve at 15 in the opening game of the match after a forehand victor from Thiem.

With Nadal eager to finish off the match in straight sets in energy-sapping humidity, Basilashvili twice came from a mini-break down to take the set, leaving his opponent to rue a missed forehand down the line at 6-6.

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In the end, Rafa wasted three break points at 5-5 but he managed to brin the match home in the deciding tie break to reach the semi-final and stay on the title course.

His 12th appearance breaks the Ryder Cup record held by Nick Faldo.

Nadal recovered from being broken as he served for the second set in the ninth game with an immediate break back to level the contest.

"It's going to be stuck in my mind forever..."

The world number one worked his way back into the match but he was never in control and Thiem served for the third set.

"I told myself "wake up", said Nadal.

"I would say the first really epic match that I played".

Thiem, an Austrian who was in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open for the first time, blitzed Nadal at the onset of the match, hitting 13 winners in the opening set and just two unforced errors.

Twenty-four hours after Roger Federer fell to John Millman, his old rival avoided following him out of the tournament, but only just, completing a 0-6 6-4 7-5 6-7 (4/7) 7-6 (7/5) victory at 2.03am.

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