Rafael Nadal survives late-night marathon against Dominic Thiem

Rafael Nadal survives late-night marathon against Dominic Thiem

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 USA time.

For the second night in a row, the end of The Tennis Podcast had to be recorded at past 2am in NY in order to cover the thrilling events of the US Open night session.

He always plays with - plays and practices with a great attitude and sad for him because when arrives this moment, he did all the things well to win the match. "It was a real battle".

'I had a tough start and then I stayed in the match in some way. For me it was... Nadal said he told Thiem not to despair, seeing the potential for greatness in his future.

After holding at love in game 11, Rafa converted the third set point with a forehand down the line victor for four games in a row and 7-5, moving a set away from the place in the semi-final. "I mean, it's cruel sometimes tennis, you know, because I think this match didn't really deserve a loser".

"I could have s*** the bed [lost] in the first round, and that would have been really bad", said Stephens, who is projected to drop five spots to eighth in the world rankings. Even like this, I had a very lucky first set.

Nadal could easily have wrapped it up in the fourth set and missed five break points in the decider, but found a way to take one last opportunity against Thiem and his flowing single handed backhand.

Nadal said that losing the first set by 6-0 was not in his plan but he accepted it with "humility", while in the fifth he had "more options" than Thiem.

Nadal seemed to be on the verge of cracking the code when he broke back in the fourth and came within two points of winning the match. The way it ended up in the fifth set tiebreaker, there it's 50/50.

But the 25-year-old Austrian was ultimately the one bowing out of the US Open; the scoreline reading 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7, 7-6. I fought until the end. "He made one more point than me". Having looked the more tired of the two, it was Nadal who was applying the greater pressure and at 5-5, 0-40 it seemed this was his chance.

"He's maybe playing some of the best tennis ever right now for him", said the American. That was wrapped up in just 24 minutes with Nadal winning only seven points. After that first set, then the match became more normal.

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

Rafael Nadal showed his class by jumping over the net to embrace Dominic Thiem. "I like this feeling, but at the same time you feel exhausted after that", Nadal said.

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

The clock ticked past 2 a.m.at Arthur Ashe Stadium, where fans stood on their feet and applauded every point as 17-time major champion Nadal surpassed his four hour and 23-minute contest with Karen Khachanov in round three to earn a semifinal showdown with Juan Martin del Potro. "I don't want to lose against anybody, but now I wish him the title the most, that's for sure".

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