Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - I’m sorry: Nadal downs Thiem in US Open epic to make semis



I’m sorry: Nadal downs Thiem in US Open epic to make semis

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Rafael Nadal embraces Dominic Thiem after beating him in their men’s singles quarterfinal at the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on Wednesday. AFP

I’m sorry: Nadal downs Thiem in US Open epic to make semis

Defending champion Rafael Nadal survived an epic US Open quarter-final confrontation to defeat battling ninth seed Dominic Thiem 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/5) and reach the semi-finals for the seventh time.

In a gripping 4-hour 49-minute contest which concluded at 2:04am on Wednesday, world number one Nadal won through to keep his bid for a fourth title in New York and 18th Grand Slam crown on track.

However, the 32-year-old was fortunate to triumph on another hot and humid night at Flushing Meadows, 24 hours after Roger Federer had been dumped out of the tournament by John Millman.

After suffering a first set ‘bagel’, Nadal had to battle back from breaks in the third and fourth sets before seeing off the first top 20 player he had faced at the US Open since 2013.

“I suffered, that’s the right word,” said Nadal after playing his longest ever match at the tournament.

“I said to Dominic I am sorry. He’s a great guy, a close friend who will have many more opportunities to win the big titles.”

Nadal had defeated Thiem in the Roland Garros final in June, but this was their first meeting away from a clay court. “He has a great attitude and is a great fighter,” Nadal said.

In a dramatic final set, Nadal saw five break points come and go before Thiem went long with a smash on the first match point.

It was his 58th unforced error on a night when he sent down 18 aces and fired 74 winners.

“It’s going to be stuck in my mind forever. Forever I’m going to remember this match, for sure,” said Thiem after his first ever hard court match against Nadal.

“Tennis is cruel sometimes because I think this match didn’t really deserve a loser. But there has to be one.”

The semi-final will pit Nadal against third seed and 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro for the second successive Grand Slam.

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

‘Wake up!’

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

The top seed won just seven points in the opener.

“I told myself: ‘Wake up’!” Nadal said.

Nadal recovered from being broken as he served for the second set in the ninth game with an immediate break back to level the contest.

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.

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.

But he took the tiebreaker before Nadal just proved the steadier of the two in the final set decider.

Del Potro reached the semi-finals for the third time, defeating John Isner 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 and ending American hopes of a first men’s champion at the event since 2003.

Del Potro dropped his first set of the tournament against 11th seed Isner, who was playing in his maiden quarter-final at his home Slam.

Despite that, the 29-year-old was never broken in the 3 hour 31 minute match where Isner unleashed 26 aces but was undone by 52 unforced errors compared to Del Potro’s 14.

“To reach the semi-final again here in New York in my favourite tournament is very special to me,” said Del Potro after his eighth win over Isner in 12 meetings.

“To play John in these kind of matches, it’s like an epic. We fought the whole match and I survived with my serve which was key.”

Del Potro admitted the 33-degree temperatures proved a real challenge with the 10-minute heat rule allowing the players a welcome respite after the third set.

“I had a shower, lay on the table and I didn’t want to come back again. It was too hot to play tennis!” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro