NEW YORK, September 5, 2018
Three-time champion Rafael Nadal continued his title defense against first-time US Open quarterfinalist Dominic Thiem in Tuesday’s night session.
In the pair’s 11th meeting, but first ever on hard court, the 32-year-old Spaniard emerged victorious 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7(4), 7-6(5). The four-hour and 49-minute marathon ended at 2:04 am local time on Wednesday morning.
“It’s going to be stuck in my mind forever,” said Thiem, who has become the first Austrian in the US Open quarterfinals since former World No. 1 Thomas Muster in 1996. “I’m going to remember this match, for sure. Tennis is cruel sometimes, because I think this match didn’t really deserve a loser. But there has to be one. And I would say if we skip the first set, [it] was a really open match from the beginning to the end. The way it ended up in the fifth set tiebreaker, there it’s 50/50.”
The encounter between Nadal and Thiem was the second longest match in tournament history after the five-hour-and-26-minute battle between Stefan Edberg and Michael Chang in the 1992 semi-finals.
“I told him that I am very sorry and you are very good,” Nadal said of the 25-year-old Austrian. “It was a great battle and I just kept going.”
Nadal will meet Argentine Juan Martin del Potro in the semi-finals scheduled for Friday. This will be the third meeting in the Grand Slams this year between the two, with Nadal wining both previous encounters in the semi-finals at Roland Garros and Wimbledon quarterfinals. Altogether Nadal leads their head to head series 11-5.