Rafael Nadal Wins Five-Set Thriller Over Dominic Thiem to Gain Semifinal Berth at US Open
(Seprtember 5, 2018) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Defending champion Rafael Nadal came back from being “bageled” 6-0 in the first set to win a five-set thriller against No. 9 Dominic Thiem in 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5) in 4 hours, 49 minutes. It’s the longest match in US Open tournament history.
“Very demanding in all aspects,” said Nadal. “Have been a very tough start for me. After that first set, then the match became more normal. Tough match against a great opponent.
“Yeah, have been physical demanding because the conditions have been tough out there, too. Not crazy, but tough. And, yes, I played against a great opponent. He played a good match. Sorry for him, yeah. He’s a top guy, being honest. He’s one of the best guys on tour. He always plays and practice with a great attitude.
“Sad for him because when arrive this moment, he did all the things well to win the match. Me, too, I think. I fighted until the end. Yeah, was question of little bit of luck at the end, and was for me. Happy, of course, to be in semifinals again means a lot to me. Is good to have now two days that probably give me the chance to be on my 100% in the semifinals.”
“It’s going to be stuck in my mind forever. Forever I’m going to remember this match, for sure.
“But, I mean, it’s cruel sometimes tennis, you know, because I think this match didn’t really deserve a loser. But there has to be one. And I would say if we skip the first set, was really open match from the beginning to the end. Yeah, the way it ended up in the fifth set tiebreaker, there it’s 50/50. He made one more point than me.”
“I would say the first really epic match I played. I played some good ones before, but not that long, not that long against the great guys on the Grand Slam stage.
“I’m happy that I did this for the first time, even if it went the wrong way. Of course, now I’m devastated a little bit. But in few days I will look back and will remember now great it was to play in front of a packed Arthur Ashe this great match.”
This was only the fourth time in the 17-time major champion’s career that he had been shut out in a set. It’s the first time that he’s actually won a match when he was bageled in the first set. The Spaniard, the world No. 1 also had to rally from a break down in the third set. He was also two points away from winning in the fourth set, but the Austrian extended the set to a tiebreak. He was also two points away from losing in the fifth set.
The 32-year-old Nadal moves a third straight major semifinals for this year. He’ll be taking on 2009 winner Juan Martin del Potro in the semifinals on Friday.
“Yeah, will be a very tough one,” Nadal said. Probably Juan Martin is — in Wimbledon he’s a great player. He’s a great player on grass. Well, he’s a great player everywhere. But the challenge of playing him on hard of course is even higher for me personally than playing against him on clay, like happened in Roland Garros. Even like this, I had a very lucky first set.
“Will be a big challenge. Is a match that we know each other very well. I know he’s playing well. I know that I will have to play at my highest level to keep having chances of success. I am focused on try to make that happen.
“I think last three sets I improved. I increased my level. Was a step forward for me in the dynamic of the tournament. So I did it. I hope to continue that way.”
Nadal is looking for his fourth US Open crown, as well as his 18th major.