Nadal looks within to find way past Thiem

Getting to know you Nikoloz Basilashvili

The reigning US Open champion and world number one endured a gruelling match against ninth-seeded Thiem, who swept the first set 6-0 on Tuesday night, reports EFE news agency.

World number one Nadal saw off a battling Nikoloz Basilashvili, the first Georgian in a fourth round in NY, 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-4.

The clocked ticked past 2am at Arthur Ashe Stadium, where fans stood on their feet and applauded every point as 17-time major champion Nadal surpassed his four hour and 23-minute contest with Karen Khachanov in round three to earn a semi-final showdown with Juan Martin del Potro.

It was a hot, brutal marathon match, and things looked bleak for Rafael Nadal early on in his U.S. Open quarterfinal battle against Austrian player Dominic Thiem.

By defeating Basilashvili, Nadal has reached the quarter-finals of all the grand slams for the first time since 2011.

The Spaniard was able to bounce back and win the next two sets 6-4, 7-5, but not without a fight from Thiem.

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.

"Then the third set happened - he served for the set - then I won two games in a row and took the set". Of course, my level dropped a little bit.

"It has been a great battle". The World No.1, for the first time, started the match with such a worst beginning.

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"He's young, he has plenty of time to win big tournaments", he said on court. But Thiem saved all three break points before denying Nadal a fourth opportunity with a stunning volley at the end of a remarkable point. And I played against a great opponent.

"This match is going to be stuck in my mind forever - tennis is cruel sometimes", Thiem, comprehensively beaten by Nadal in June's French Open final, told reporters.

John Isner continued the best season of his career by reaching his first quarter-final in NY for seven years. "The only thing which was uncomfortable was the sweating I couldn't run any more in the fourth set because the shoes were completely wet", Thiem said.

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.

Nadal has played a total of 15 hours, 54 minutes through five matches here.

"I played a lot of long and tough matches in my career".

"To play John in these kind of matches, it's like an epic".

Thiem made his intentions clear after clinching the opening set 6-0 as he made the Spaniard sweat hard to earn points in the quarter-finals clash. I think we nearly all the time have great matches.

Nadal holds an 11-5 record against Del Potro.

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