Underdog exploits US Open spacing to pull off masterpiece

Underdog exploits US Open spacing to pull off masterpiece

The match, which carried on until after 2 a.m. before ending 0-6 6-4 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-5), was Nadal's longest at the U.S. Open.

Ninth seed Thiem became the first player since Andy Roddick in 2004 to win a love set against Nadal in NY but the defending champion once again dug deep to come out on top of a gruelling battle played in more punishing humidity.

After suffering a first set "bagel", Nadal had to battle back from breaks in the third and fourth sets before seeing off the first top 20 player he had faced at the US Open since 2013.

Nadal will face Juan Martin del Potro in the semi-final of the US Open.

Pliskova is a big server and hitter in her own right, someone who briefly spent time at No. 1 in the WTA rankings and was the runner-up at the U.S. Open in 2016, when she beat Williams in the semifinals. "It was a very tough start, I tried to stay in the match in the second set", he said on court after securing passage to the semifinals.

When it ended, on an overhead by Thiem that sailed long, everyone in Nadal's guest box - a group that included actor Ben Stiller - leaped to their feet to celebrate.

Thiem then grabbed a 4-3 lead in the third which he stretched to 5-3 but then it was his turn to crack as Nadal raced away with three games to claim a two sets to one lead. Dominic had 13 winners and just two unforced error and it was impossible for Nadal to keep that pace, losing serve at 15 in the opening game of the match after a forehand victor from Thiem.

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Actor Ben Stiller was among those in the VIP seating section at Arthur Ashe Stadium, joining Nadal's family and support team as the Spaniard battled Dominic Thiem in an epic 5-set match. "But in some way, being honest, I had a very tough injury in 2005".

He pulled back to 3-3, punishing the Nadal second serve, but the top seed moved ahead again immediately, this time his forehand down the line at its unerring best. 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. This set lasted 67 minutes but the real drama was just around the corner in set number four, with 12 break points in total and more than 80 minutes required to be completed!

In the fourth set, Thiem once again took control early, breaking Nadal to take a 2-1 lead.

World number one Nadal had only lost a set 6-0 at a grand slam on three previous occasions - the 2015 Australian Open, 2006 Wimbledon and the 2004 US Open - but that changed against rampant ninth seed Thiem in the opening set on Tuesday.

He walked quietly to the center of the court, then stepped over the net and embraced 25-year-old Dominic Thiem.

"Forever I'm going to remember this match, for sure", Thiem said. Having looked the more tired of the two, it was Nadal who was applying the greater pressure and at 5-5, 0-40 it seemed this was his chance.

The Austrian was often in the driver's seat and closed out points against Nadal, the best defender in the game, with his backhand.

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