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ESPN captures epic shot of Rafael Nadal after marathon match

06 September, 2018, 02:33 | Author: Lora Ball
  • Rafael Nadal is targeting his 18th Grand Slam title

Twenty-four hours after Roger Federer fell to John Millman, his old rival avoided following him out of the tournament, but only just, completing a 0-6 6-4 7-5 6-7 (4/7) 7-6 (7/5) victory at 2.03am United States time.

Rafael Nadal was delighted, relieved - and sorry - after winning one of the great US Open night-session matches against Dominic Thiem.

Post-match Nadal said that "suffering" was the "right word" to describe the 4 hour, 48 minute match. "It was a real battle". "The conditions were tough, very humid for me". For me it was... But he dug in and trusted in his big weapons, and was rewarded, coming back to win 6-7 6-3 5-7 6-4 6-1.

The Austrian was heartbroken but proud, saying: "It's going to be stuck in my mind forever".

The Spaniard was able to bounce back and win the next two sets 6-4, 7-5, but not without a fight from Thiem. "I mean, it's cruel sometimes tennis, you know, because I think this match didn't really deserve a loser". "I don't think he's really sorry", said the 25-year-old.

"In the first set I only won seven points, I hadn't started and it could've been very unpleasant".

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Thiem was 4-2 ahead in the fourth set before he was again reeled in and he was two points from defeat in the 12th game.

Nadal, facing his fellow seed away from clay for the first time after 10 previous meeting, was 30-29 when losing the first set at a major, but he rediscovered his best form to level the match, rising to the challenge by converting both break-point chances - having earned none in the first set - to halt the red-hot Thiem.

Thiem, an Austrian who was in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open for the first time, blitzed Nadal at the onset of the match, hitting 13 winners in the opening set and just two unforced errors.

But at one point, the 2016 Olympic Games star looked tense as she stood up to applaud her beau. "He's a fighter, he has a great attitude".

"It wasn't easy, obviously, I think one thing she did well was change her strategy and started doing just a completely different game and gave me a different look to her game", explained Serena, who laid down 18 aces.

He will play Argentine third seed Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 champion, in Friday's semi-finals.

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Nadal crossed over to Thiem's side of the net and the two embraced. But the last time, against Philipp Kohlschreiber in Miami last spring, he fought back to win the match.

"Wake up", Nadal said he told himself.

There were no breaks of serve in the deciding set and a second tiebreak ensued.

In the first Nadal was all over the place, totally unable to find any rhythm and a set down after just 26 minutes when he won just seven points.

Remarkably, Thiem was the first top-20 player Nadal has faced at Flushing Meadows since his final win over Novak Djokovic in 2013, with last year's title seeing him take on a succession of unexpected opponents.

"(I) just said that I am very sorry and you are good.

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Isner paid tribute to Del Potro.

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