In one of many memorable points, Nadal hit a almost flawless half volley, only to see Thiem beat him with a ideal crosscourt pass.
"Very demanding in all aspects", Nadal said of his triumph at a post-match media conference.
Rafael Nadal, of Spain, sits during a changeover in his match against Dominic Thiem, of Austria, during the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open tennis tournament early Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018, in NY. "I guess to keep your cool and be a good sport is very important". Until the fifth-set tiebreaker, the first contested so far this tournament, it was truly any man's game to win.
Nadal had defeated Thiem in the Roland Garros final in June but this was their first meeting away from a clay court. "He's a fighter, he has a great attitude".
Thiem is looking to reach the semi-finals, having reached his first last-eight match outside of the French Open as Nadal seeks a fourth title at Flushing Meadows.
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Present victor of the event 3 times filed via, actively gained fifty five factors and has made forty nine unforced errors.
The Spaniard will come up against another big-hitter Juan Martin Del Potro in the semis.
Thiem made his intentions clear after clinching the opening set 6-0 as he made the Spaniard sweat hard to earn points in the quarter-finals clash.
Rafael Nadal survived an onslaught from Dominic Thiem to eventually make the US Open semi-finals on Wednesday morning.
Nadal won just seven points as the Austrian rained down winners from all angles.
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"It will be a very tough one", Nadal added of his last-four tie.
With the mercury hitting 35C and humidity at about 50 per cent, the US Tennis Association invoked its new extreme heat policy, which allowed the players to take a 10-minute break after the third set. Nadal then held serve to take a 6-5 lead and closed out the set on Thiem's serve on his third set point. He came within two points of victory late in the fourth set before being pushed to a fifth, where he was two points from a loss.
'I had a tough start and then I stayed in the match in some way. "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". But there has to be one. As usual, he had to do it without the benefit of many cheap points; he hit just three aces, 15 fewer than Thiem. But Thiem saved all three break points before denying Nadal a fourth opportunity with a stunning volley at the end of a remarkable point.
Nadal said he had told Thiem he was sorry for the result although the Austrian laughed off that consolation from his close friend.
"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. "It means a lot to me". I don't want to lose against anybody. "I am sorry for him, but I am sure he will have his chances in the future, without a doubt". I think we nearly all the time have great matches.
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