Defending champion Rafa Nadal failed to win a single game in the opening set of his U.S. Open quarter-final against Dominic Thiem on Tuesday but fought back to beat the Austrian 0-6 6-4 7-5 6-7 (4) 7-6 (5) in a match that ended after 2 a.m.in NY. But after Nadal came within two points of victory, Thiem wound up taking the fourth set 7-6 (4).
But in a titanic battle worthy of a final, with stunning winners on both racquets and breathtaking defence, top seed Nadal rallied to outlast Thiem 0-6 6-4 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-5) in the longest match of this year's tournament - four hours and 49 minutes.
The seven-time Grand Slam victor Mats Wilander deeply analyzed the fourth round US Open match between Rafael Nadal and Nikoloz Basilashvili. It's been a great battle. "The conditions were tough, humid".
"It's cruel, sometimes, tennis", Thiem said, calling the loss "the first really epic match I've played".
Up next is a semi-final clash with the resurgent giant that is Juan Martin del Potro and Nadal has less than 48 hours to recover for his clash with the Argentine. But I have to say, the last two sets the level of tennis was incredible. "He's a close friend on tour, a great guy and I wish him the very best".
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.
Defending champion Nadal suffered a "bagel" in the first set but still won 0-6 6-4 7-5 5-7 7-6 to avoid the same fate as Roger Federer.
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"He did all the things well to win the match", Nadal said. I think we nearly all the time have great matches.
"To reach the semifinal again here in NY in my favourite tournament is very special to me", said Del Potro after his eighth win over Isner in 12 meetings. Until the fifth-set tiebreaker, the first contested so far this tournament, it was truly any man's game to win.
Those choruses resonated in the arena after key points, such as each time del Potro erased one of Isner's break chances, three in all.
The Nadal who was gassed and wearing a cooling vest during breaks in the first set was no more.
Del Potro admitted the 33-degree temperatures proved a real challenge with the 10-minute heat rule allowing the players a welcome respite after the third set. He saved 12 break points, including three while serving at 5-5, 0-40 in the fifth set.
"I'm sad for him because when this moment arrived, he did all the things well to win the match".
Pliskova is the last woman to beat Williams at the U.S. Open, eliminating her in the semifinals two years ago. "I'm playing a lot of hours this year at this handsome stadium". "But in a 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".