Nadal advances to US Open semi-final

Rafael Nadal

There was nothing left to give and, when a sprayed overhead smash from Thiem sealed Nadal's epic 0-6 6-4 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-5) US Open quarter-final victor on Wednesday, Nadal's reaction spoke volumes of his character.

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.

Thiem was 4-2 ahead in the fourth set before he was again reeled in and he was two points from defeat in the 12th game.

Rafael Nadal had his longest match ever at the US Open on Tuesday, and he eventually emerged victorious over Dominic Thiem. "But in some way, being honest, I had a very tough injury in 2005. It was a very tough start, I tried to stay in the match in the second set", he said on court after securing passage to the semifinals.

Next up for Nadal will be Juan Martin del Potro, who advanced to the semis via a four-set win over American John Isner.

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

The popular third seed will now attempt to take a step he has not managed since winning his only grand slam title here nine years ago and reach another final.

Defending champion Nadal suffered a "bagel" in the first set but still won 0-6 6-4 7-5 5-7 7-6 to avoid the same fate as Roger Federer.

"It will be a very tough one", Nadal added of his last-four tie. "He's a close friend on tour".




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"Being honest I am just very, very sorry for Dominic".

With a heat wave striking NY and temperatures crossing 27 degrees at night, it appeared that Nadal would see off the tie with a four-set victory but Thiem's seemed to have found his mojo once again. As usual, he had to do it without the benefit of many cheap points; he hit just three aces, 15 fewer than Thiem. But the last time, against Philipp Kohlschreiber in Miami last spring, he fought back to win the match.

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.

"(I am) sad for him because when [he arrived at] this moment, he did all the things well to win the match.

"Yeah, it's going to be stuck in my mind forever", Thiem said after the match.

Nadal holds an 11-5 record against Del Potro.

"I'm going to remember this match, for sure". Del Potro, who has been the most dominant men's player this year, will have to go full throttle if he has to release Nadal's stranglehold over him.

"To play John in these kind of matches, it's like an epic".

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