Nadal advances to US Open semi-final

US Open Dominic Thiem upends Kevin Anderson to reach the quarters

Defending champion Rafael Nadal remains on course for a fourth US Open title, but only just, after being taken to a fifth-set tiebreak by Dominic Thiem in a late-night quarter-final at Flushing Meadows. It was just the fourth time in 282 career Grand Slam matches that Nadal lost a set 6-0, and the first time he won a match after that poor of a start.

Nadal has the best part of two days to recover before a semi-final against Juan Martin Del Potro, while the world No 9 left a stadium largely drained of spectators with nothing more than a reminder of his opponent's incredible fighting qualities.

Rafael Nadal has revealed the secret conversation he had with Dominic Thiem after their US Open match.

Nadal was completely dismantled by Thiem in the first set as the American crowd was shocked into silence in NY, the Austrian hitting vaporising forehands and backhands to wrap up the opener in just 24 minutes - tallying 13 winners, five aces and 24 points in total compared to just seven from the former.

"It's been a great battle", an exhausted Nadal said of the four hour 49 minute epic.

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 met the Austrian in the quarter-finals of the U.S. open, a tournament the Spaniard has won four times. He's a great guy. "I don't know if I can get a new one, but I'm doing all my best to try to get it again". "Have been physically demanding because the conditions have been tough out there", he said.

Nadal evened the match by breaking in the final game of the second set.

"He has a great attitude and is a great fighter".

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Asked about that at his news conference, Thiem said with a chuckle: "Well, I don't think he's really sorry". "Forever I'm going to remember this match, for sure", said Thiem after his first ever hard court match against Nadal.

Sevastova came into the match having broken her opponent's serve a tournament-leading 23 times. It was a question of a little bit of luck at the end.

The popular third seed will now attempt to take a step he has not managed since winning his only grand slam title here nine years ago and reach another final.

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

It was only the fourth time in his long grand slam history that Nadal had lost a set 6-0 and just the third time at any level in almost seven years. "Tennis is cruel sometimes because I think this match didn't really deserve a loser".

"Sad for him because when arrive this moment, he did all the things well to win the match", Nadal said of Thiem.

The Austrian hung his head before being consoled by Nadal who then held his arms aloft in celebration and relief.

The third set was another grind.

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