Nadal sails into US Open semis

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He had won 171 points, Nadal 166.

What was most impressive in a match that featured brilliant shot-making and powerful, line-clipping groundstrokes over the course of almost five hours was that Thiem looked to be the fresher player compared to the 17-time Grand Slam champion who is known for his fight on the court. I tried to stay in the match some way in the second set.

"A 6-0 is a very unsafe result", he continued.

"In some way when you give everything that you have, win or lose the personal satisfaction when you give everything and you play with the right attitude is the same". However, the 32-year-old was fortunate to triumph on another hot and humid night at Flushing Meadows, 24 hours after Roger Federer had been dumped out of the tournament by John Millman.

This one was never easy: Nadal trailed by a break in the third set before taking it.

World No.1 Rafael Nadal beat Dominic Thiem in a grueling five-set quarterfinal, recovering from a disastrous opening set to clinch the match in dramatic style.

"I just (kept) going, I'm very sorry for Dominic, he's a close friend on tour, a great guy, and I wish him all the very best".

Nadal had defeated Thiem in the Roland Garros final in June but this was their first meeting away from a clay court. "I'm going to remember this match, for sure", Thiem said.

"Tennis is sometimes cruel, this game didn't deserve a loser but there has to be one and, if we skip the first set, we were well matched from start to finish", he noted. "But there has to be one".

The victor of this match will face Juan Martin del Potro - who saw off big-serving American John Isner - in the last four.

The world number one worked his way back into the match but he was never in control and Thiem served for the third set.

But the 17-time major champion was completely dismantled in the opening set by the red-hot Dominic Thiem in NY, where the Austrian ninth seed annihilated Nadal in just 24 minutes.

Though Thiem denied him at first, breaking back to get proceedings back on serve, an error-strewn game from the Austrian No. 1 allowed Nadal to level.

The Spaniard was able to bounce back and win the next two sets 6-4, 7-5, but not without a fight from Thiem. For even though Thiem had won more points, been ahead in three of the five sets, powered 74 winners, he froze in the big moments while Nadal flew. It ended up in the fifth set tiebreaker, there it's 50/50.

The popular third seed will now attempt to take a step he has not managed since winning his only grand slam title here nine years ago and reach another final.

"Being honest I am just very, very sorry for Dominic".

Juan Martin del Potro beat John Isner to make a second straight U.S. Open semifinal, and extend the Americans' drought at their host tournament. I think we nearly all the time have great matches.

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