Nadal through after five-set thriller

World No.1 and defending US Open champion Rafael Nadal is through to the semi-finals after an epic five-set win over 9th-seed Dominic Thiem at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday.

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In a match lasting four hours and 54 minutes, Nadal beat Thiem 0-6 6-4 7-5 6-7(4) 7-6(5), in what has been the best match of the tournament so far

The Spaniards semi-final opponent will be third-seeded Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina, who beat American John Isner 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-2 earlier in the day.

Thiem got off to a dream start, breaking Nadal three times in succession as he handed Nadal the dreaded bagel in a first set that lasted just 25 minutes.

Nadal won just seven points as the Austrian rained down winners from all angles.

It was the first time the Spaniard had failed to win a game in a set since Miami in 2017 against Philipp Kohlschreiber, a match Nadal went on to win.

True to form, the defending champion improved significantly in the second set and things went with serve until game eight as Nadal broke for a 5-3 advantage.

Thiem then showed tremendous fight to break straight back, but his joy was short lived as Nadal replied immediately to win the set and level the match.

The fourth was another evenly matched affair, Thiem threatening the Nadal serve in game five before snatching a break two games later.

He couldn’t hold on though, as Nadal hit back as the 25-year old served for the set, winning three games in a row to clinch the third set and assume control.

At 2-1 down, Nadal looked favourite to extend his record against his opponent to 8-3, but Thiem was not to be denied and overcame the disappointment of losing an early break to claim the fourth set in a tiebreaker to square it up at two sets each.

The fifth set was very tight, with Thiem saving two break points at 2-2 and again saved three more at 5-5 for the match to go on to be decided by a tiebreaker, which Nadal won 7-5 to reach the semi-finals and stay on course to defend his title.

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