Nadal outlasts Thiem in US Open classic to reach semis

At the end of four hours and 49 minutes, at 2:04 am NY time, that's the word Thiem was left ruing. "It was a great battle".

"I suffered, that's the right word", said Nadal after playing his longest ever match at the tournament. "He's a close friend on tour, a great guy and I wish him the very best".

"He is young. He has plenty of time to win big tournaments", Nadal said. After that first set, then the match became more normal. He always plays with - plays and practices with a great attitude and sad for him because when arrives this moment, he did all the things well to win the match.

With the World No. 9 having never met Nadal in any surface other than the red dirt in 10 meetings, it was hard to envisage how the match would unfold. For the match, he hit 74 winners and 18 aces and stole six break points to Nadal's five.

"That's what I was preparing for", Thiem said. I am focused on trying to make that happen. "I mean, it's cruel sometimes tennis, because I think this match didn't really deserve a loser. But there has to be one".

The reigning US Open champion will meet another veteran, the Argentine 2009 victor Juan Martin del Potro, in the next round.

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.

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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.

After offering little resistance in the first set, in which he won just seven points, the more versatile Nadal adjusted. But Nadal drew him to net twice more, drawing a backhand error on break point to level the set.

Thiem was broken serving for the set and then could not hold on for the tie-break, saving two set points but not a third after planting a volley wide with the whole of the court available.

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.

After Nadal roared back to take a 2-1 lead, the fourth set went to a tiebreak. 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. "It's good to have now two days [without a match] that probably give me the chance to be 100 per cent in the semi-finals".

Stiller felt the intensity of the match and was often seen displaying the kind of nerves he had while taking his lie detector test in "Meet the Parents".

"We fought the whole match and I survived with my serve which was key".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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