US Open: Nadal sets up a quarterfinal date with Thiem

Anderson crashes out of US Open

To celebrate his special day, the tennis star enjoyed a romantic night out in NY this week.

Asked about how he got through the tense moments, he added: "Suffering is the right word". "It was a real battle". "Have been a very tough start for me". For me it was...

"Because he's young, he has plenty of time to win big tournaments".

"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, as in the second set, when the time came to keep his foot on Nadal's throat, he instead loosened the pressure and lived to regret it. Thiem was broken serving for the set and then could not hold on for the tie-break, saving two set points but not a third after planting a volley wide with the whole of the court available. And Thiem, the only man to beat Nadal on clay for the last two seasons, set about showing his opponent he meant serious business in his first Grand Glam quarter-final outside of the French Open.

"Dominic is an exemplary player on the circuit, and when you get to 5-5 in the fifth set, the tie-break is really on the toss of a coin".

Thiem took a 5-4 lead before Nadal won both service points to set up his first match point. "I fight until the end, so it's always was question of a little bit of luck at the end".

It looked like the Austrian, a day past his 25th birthday, had cracked at 5-5 in the fifth but he fought back from 0-40 with one of the points of the match coming at deuce when took three overheads away.

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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 said to Dominic I am sorry". But the challenge of playing him on hard of course is even higher for me personally than playing against him on clay, like happened in Roland Garros. There are the matches he actually loses - as the past and present world No. 1, a 17-time major victor, these are rare - but not before leaving behind a Mediterranean Sea's worth of sweat and tears. Dominic had 13 winners and just two unforced error and it was impossible for Nadal to keep that pace, losing serve at 15 in the opening game of the match after a forehand victor from Thiem.

Meanwhile, Thiem said his epic defeat to close friend Nadal i will "stay with me forever". He will have his chances in the future without a doubt, ' Nadal said.

"'Wake up, '" Nadal said he told himself.

Though the match was played in the night session, allowing Nadal and Thiem to avoid the searing daytime temperatures that have had a significant impact on the tournament, the ninth seed still felt the conditions played their part.

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

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