Rafael Nadal survives Dominic Thiem scare to enter US Open semis

Nadal advances to face Thiem in U.S. Open quarterfinals

The match ended at 2:04 a.m. after four hours and 49 minutes - the longest match Nadal has played at the U.S. Open.

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.

When the match was finished, Nadal hopped over the net and embraced his good friend Thiem.

"I said to Dominic I am sorry".

"Suffering is the right word (for the match)".

"It's been a great battle", an exhausted Nadal said.

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Thiem said of the marathon match: "It's going to be stuck in my mind forever". This was the longest match Rafael Nadal has ever played in NY and he was forced to give his best after a slow start and overpower a great rival who finally produced super quality tennis outside clay and proved his position in the Top 10.

There are no chill Rafael Nadal matches, like oh cool, I'll watch some tennis and my blood pressure will stay level. But there has to be one. "I hope that we have many more in the future - with a different end".

Nadal will face Juan Martin del Potro in the semi-final of the US Open.

At Wimbledon, Nadal came back from two sets to one down to win in five in a quarter-final which stretched to nearly five hours.

The Austrian blasted 13 winners, made only two unforced errors and allowed Nadal just seven points in winning an extraordinary opening set.

Thiem then grabbed a 4-3 lead in the third which he stretched to 5-3 but then it was his turn to crack as Nadal raced away with three games to claim a two sets to one lead. But the last time, against Philipp Kohlschreiber in Miami last spring, he fought back to win the match. But now I wish him the title the most, that's for sure.

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Thursday's freakish scenes prompted an outcry on social media, with the umpire criticised for his role in how events panned out. You never know what would have happened if Mohamed didn't go down off the chair and started talking to him.

The Spaniard secured the break he wanted for 5-3 only to give it back but a sloppy game from Thiem, who turned 25 on Monday, handed him the set anyway.

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.

Thiem, who entered the match with a 3-7 record in the rivalry (all of those matches on Nadal's preferred clay), delivered an impeccable first set to bagel a listless Nadal in a mere 24 minutes.

With Thiem serving at 5-6 30-30, a desperate lunging forehand looked to be easy pickings for Nadal at the net only for the 32-year-old to net it. The Spaniard saved a break point in games nine and 11 but he stood no chance in the tie break, losing it 7-4 following a routine forehand that he sent into the net, handing the set to his rival and setting up a decider after more than three and a half hours of awesome battle!

With the clock ticking towards 1am and transport options dwindling, many fans headed for the exits while the two adversaries battled on.

After holding at love in game 11, Rafa converted the third set point with a forehand down the line victor for four games in a row and 7-5, moving a set away from the place in the semi-final. After saving two break points in game two, Thiem broke in the very next game after a backhand error from Rafa who had to save three break points in game five to stay in contention.

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I could see some sparks, but we sit so low we don't see so much but I felt that something was not right and it was pointless so I came in.

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