Outgoing champion Rafael Nadal dug deep to win the longest US Open match this year in a classic five-set quarter-final against Dominic Thiem – which ended at 2:03 am local time.
The world number one Nadal lost the 6-0 opening set after being eliminated from the new Austrian seed in New York.
However, the thirty-second Spanish champion recovered to lead two sets to one before Thiem equalized in a draw. Nadal drew a tie-fifth set-break to win 0-6 6-4 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-5). The 17 times Grand Slam champion won the victory when Thiem achieved a long success on the first match point, the drama continues until the last shot in an epic match lasting four hours and 49 minutes.
Nadal jumped over the net to console his Austrian opponent at the end, the couple embracing while those left inside Arthur Ashe stood up to give them a thunderous ovation. “I told Dominic: ‘I am very sorry and I keep going.’ He has a lot of time to win: he will have his chances in the future without a doubt, “said Nadal.
To the question of how he went through moments of tension, Nadal added: “Suffering is the right word, it has been a great battle”. The third Argentinian seed Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 champion, will play in the semi-finals on Friday.
“It’s nice to have two days that probably give me the chance to be 100% in the semi-finals,” added Nadal.