Published: Sat, September 08, 2018
Sport | By Matt Richards

Nadal, Del Potro into US Open last-eight

Nadal, Del Potro into US Open last-eight

Nadal, the defending champion, needed almost five hours to defeat ninth seed Thiem in a deciding tie-break after losing the opening set 6-0.

When Thiem finally broke down, with a botched smash on match point, the clock showed 2.04am in NY and the match duration was 4 hours 49 minutes, making it Nadal's longest ever match at Flushing Meadows.

The victor of this match will face Juan Martin del Potro - who saw off big-serving American John Isner - in the last four.

Despite the 6-0 first set, the match lasted four hours, 49 minutes, making it the eighth longest U.S. Open match on record.

Most players would have been left deflated after falling behind in such a manner but Thiem was not in that category - the former world number four raising his game another level to take out the tie-break, having surrendered 3-1 and 4-2 leads against Nadal, who saved six break points in the set.

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The 32-year-old Nadal, a three-time champion at Flushing Meadows, will play third seed Juan Martín del Potro in the semifinals. Of course, my level dropped a little bit.

"It was a very tough start and then I tried to stay in the match in some way in that second set and I did".

"He's young, he has plenty of time to win big tournaments".

"The way it ended up in the fifth set tiebreaker, from there it's 50-50". "I was thinking, 'You know, I can play better.' So that was the good news".

The Austrian was heartbroken but proud, saying: "It's going to be stuck in my mind forever".

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Nadal has reached at least the quarter-finals in all four Grand Slams this year - the first time he has achieved the feat since 2011. "When the things happen like this, the atmosphere and the crowd become more special".

"I don't think he's really sorry", said the 25-year-old.

Stephens, who said she had been dealing with a sinus infection, rued all of her wasted opportunities, most notably the seven break points she failed to convert in the first set. Even like this, I had a very lucky first set. "The conditions were tough and very humid", he said. Nadal was once again able to recover after going down a break, forcing the set to a tie-breaker.

"We fought the whole match and I survived with my serve which was key". "It's good to have now two days (without a match) that probably give me the chance to be 100 percent in the semi-finals". I don't want to lose against anybody.

By virtue of losing the opening set against John Isner, Del Potro ensured the US Open will remain the only grand slam in the Open era where no man has won the singles title without dropping a set. It means a lot to me.

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