Nadal 'bagelled' but survives Thiem test to reach semis

Nadal 'bagelled' but survives Thiem test to reach semis

Nadal 'bagelled' but survives Thiem test to reach semis

Rafael Nadal has shown off his class with a lovely act of sportsmanship towards Dominic Thiem after their five-set epic at the US Open.

In an epic encounter that saw both players come up with some brilliant tennis, Nadal called on all his experience as he battled hot and humid conditions to triumph in a deciding set tiebreak after Thiem sent a smash long.

Serving for the match, the Latvian raced out to triple match point and although Stephens saved two of them, Sevastova sealed the win when the 25-year-old American pushed a backhand into the net.

"I think in the last three sets I improved". It is the first time he won a match after that kind of start. "But in some way, being honest, I had a very tough injury in 2005".

Nadal was completely dismantled by Thiem in the first set as the American crowd was shocked into silence in NY, the Austrian hitting vaporizing forehands and backhands to wrap up the opener in just 24 minutes - tallying 13 winners, five aces and 24 points in total compared to just seven from the former.

"But, no, he's a great guy", Thiem said.

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

Williams was on track to meet defending champion Sloane Stephens in the semi-finals but her third-seeded countrywoman was dumped out of the tournament via a 6-2, 6-3 loss to 19th seed Anastasija Sevastova. "I start to be on rhythm and the match became more equal".

In a rematch of the French Open final, won by Nadal in June, Nadal sealed victory in a tense fifth-set tiebreak as the clock ticked past 2am after a marathon four hours and 49 minutes on court. "I hope that we have many more in the future with a different end". "Had been a very tough start for me".

The fourth set was a wild 81-minute ride that began with Thiem facing break points, saw the Austrian threaten a double break before being pegged back and then a tired Nadal miss a chance to win the match.

This was tennis at its absolute best, according to David Law (BBC 5 Live) and Catherine Whitaker (Amazon Prime Video), and also a brilliant advert for fifth set tiebreaks.

There is one new element to this match - it's the first on hard courts.

Asked about the match, the three-time US Open champion added: 'Suffering is the right word.

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

It's Theim's best ever performance at a US Open, but commentator John McEnroe says the Austrian will need to dig deep to come back from this defeat.

Remarkably, Thiem was the first top-20 player Nadal has faced at Flushing Meadows since his final win over Novak Djokovic in 2013, with last year's title seeing him take on a succession of unexpected opponents.

There are no chill Rafael Nadal matches, like oh cool, I'll watch some tennis and my blood pressure will stay level.

Despite that, the 29-year-old was never broken in the 3 hour 31 minute match where Isner unleashed 26 aces but was undone by 52 unforced errors compared to Del Potro's 14.

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