Nadal 'bagelled' but survives Thiem test to reach semis

Dominic Thiem is through to the US Open quarter-finals for the first time

Dominic Thiem is through to the US Open quarter-finals for the first time

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.

He has however lost to Thiem on three occasions in the past and he will be all too aware of the weapons that his opponent possesses.

This will be the 11th meeting between these two players but all previous encounters have come on clay so it will be fascinating to see how their games match up on a different surface.

After absorbing a 24-minute bludgeoning in the first set, Nadal came back to win 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5) in four hours, 49 minutes to reach the semifinals.

Thiem, meanwhile, has finally found some form after a post-clay court season malaise. In fact, Nadal never faced match point, and Thiem faced only one all night. The ninth, however, proved costly: On Nadal's first match point, at 6-5 in the tiebreaker, Thiem misjudged an overhead smash, sending it into the back wall to end the match at 2:03 a.m. on Wednesday. He's a great guy.

Sep 2, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Juan Mart'n Del Potro of Argentina salutes the crowd after his match against Borna Coric of Croatia (not pictured) in the fourth round on day seven of the US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Thiem broke three times in a 24-minute first set on Tuesday, handing Nadal just his third "bagel" at a Grand Slam.

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'I said to Dominic: "I'm very sorry and keep going". "I like this feeling, but at the same time you feel exhausted after that", Nadal said.

"I think that moment was the key of the match", Del Potro said in an on-court interview. It was in the fifth and final set of the game that the Spaniard showed his prowess and overpowered a rampant Austrian 7-6, advancing to the semi-finals of the US Open. Thiem is a top-10 player himself (he's now ranked No. 9), a star in his own right who some consider to be the heir apparent to Nadal. A tough match against a great opponent.

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. 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.

Thiem was 4-2 ahead in the fourth set before he was again reeled in and he was two points from defeat in the 12th game.

When Nadal makes it this far in NY, he usually doesn't stumble.

In the first Nadal was all over the place, totally unable to find any rhythm and a set down after just 26 minutes when he won just seven points.

Del Potro beat John Isner to make a second straight US Open semifinal, and extend the Americans' drought at their host tournament.

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