Nadal 'bagelled' but survives Thiem test to reach semis

Rafael Nadal

Dominic Thiem, of Austria, reacts after losing a point to Rafael Nadal, of Spain, during the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, in NY. Nadal leads the head-to-head 7-3, having claimed victory three-times at Roland Garros, including a 6-4 6-3 6-2 win in the final this year and a 6-3 6-4 6-0 win in the last four in 2017.

Here is more on the same. The win was sealed when Thiem missed a hard overhead smash long, and Nadal looked to the sky, equal parts overjoyed and relieved.

The depth and strength of Thiem's groundstrokes were doing what Nadal's shots usually do to opponents: robbing them of time and space.

Nadal and Thiem have met ten times so far on Tour, and, remarkably, all have been contested on clay courts.

It took a while for Nadal to figure out what was wrong and become Thiem's equal in entertaining, body-punishing baseline exchanges that inspired loud gasps from spectators.

Thiem broke three times in a 24-minute first set on Tuesday, handing Nadal just his third "bagel" at a Grand Slam.

When the match was finished, Nadal hopped over the net and embraced his good friend Thiem.

With Nadal eager to finish off the match in straight sets in energy-sapping humidity, Basilashvili twice came from a mini-break down to take the set, leaving his opponent to rue a missed forehand down the line at 6-6.

Thiem nearly cracked serving at 5-5.

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The Spaniard was able to bounce back and win the next two sets 6-4, 7-5, but not without a fight from Thiem.

Eventually, the world No 1 persevered to keep his challenge for an 18th Grand Slam alive.

Del Potro won, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2.

During that earlier quarterfinal, Isner doubled over and rested his elbows on his knees.

Elsewhere in the women's singles, American tennis star shrugged off the French Open verdict on her famous catsuit and continued her rampant run in the US Open.

"First of all, I served really, really well today", Thiem said.

Twenty-four hours after Roger Federer fell to John Millman, his old rival avoided following him out of the tournament, but only just, completing a 0-6 6-4 7-5 6-7 (4/7) 7-6 (7/5) victory at 2.03am. "Every match really means a lot to me". It's very humid. The air is pretty still for whatever reason. While Thiem clearly made the big winners, Nadal just knew when to raise his level by just a solitary notch, that awarded him the win. Still, it was Isner who struck first, closing the opening tiebreaker with a 132 miles per hour (212 kph) ace down the middle.

Del Potro's yet to drop a set at his year's tournament.

Tennis great Rafael Nadal outlasted Dominic Thiem in an epic, grueling five-set quarterfinal, turning around his performance from a disastrous opening set to clinch the match in dramatic style.

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