Nadal survives five set epic at US Open

Dominic Thiem upsets 2017 finalist Kevin Anderson for first US Open QF

Dominic Thiem upsets 2017 finalist Kevin Anderson for first US Open QF

Nadal, the No. 1 seed and defending U.S. Open champion was completely gassed in a dominant 6-0 first-set sweep for Thiem.

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

Nadal had said he was sorry to defeat to Thiem, who joked: "I don't think he's really sorry".

Federer faced a 29-year-old, nothing-to-lose journeyman who was playing in the fourth round of a Slam for the first time in his career, a man who'd never beaten a top-10 player.

At Wimbledon, Nadal came back from two sets to one down to win in five in a quarter-final which stretched to nearly five hours. Moving head-to-head in the thrilling clash, the tie-breaker in the decisive set seemed to be the fitting end of the match.

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Most players would have been left deflated after falling behind in such a manner but Thiem was not in that category - the former world number four raising his game another level to take out the tie-break, having surrendered 3-1 and 4-2 leads against Nadal, who saved six break points in the set.

Under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium, Nadal and Thiem delivered the NY crowd another memorable marathon, this time for a spot in the US Open semifinals. "A question of a little bit of luck at the end". "He is young and has plenty of time to win tournaments".

This story was first published on CNN.com, "Rafael Nadal outlasts Thiem in 5-set US Open thriller". "But in few days I will look back and will remember how great it was to play in front of a packed Arthur Ashe this great match".

"It's going to be stuck in my mind", he said.

Nadal has reached at least the quarter-finals in all four Grand Slams this year - the first time he has achieved the feat since 2011.

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"That's definitely the most important thing going on right now in my life, more important than this tournament", he said, after defeating Milos Raonic.

"I would say [this is] the first really epic match I played". It means a lot to me. But, as in the second set, when the time came to keep his foot on Nadal's throat, he instead loosened the pressure and lived to regret it.

In one of many memorable points, Nadal hit a almost ideal half volley, only to see Thiem beat him with a flawless crosscourt pass. "Have been physically demanding because the conditions have been tough out there", he said. After that first set, then the match became more normal.

"To play John in these kind of matches, it's like an epic".

"I had a shower, lay on the table and I didn't want to come back again". Within the quarterfinals, the Tandil native defeated American John Isner with a rating of 6:7 (5:7), 6:three, 7:6 (7:four), 6:2.

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