Nadal: I fought until the end

Rafael Nadal is targeting his 18th Grand Slam title

New York, Sep 5 Spain's Rafael Nadal defeated Austria's Dominic Thiem in an epic five-set quarter-final at the US Open tennis tournament.

In a gripping 4-hour 49-minute contest, which concluded at 2.04 a.m. on Wednesday, world number one Nadal won through to keep his bid for a fourth title in NY and 18th Grand Slam crown on track.

Thiem levelled the match with a fourth set tie-break victory before Nadal finally edged a tense final set after another tie-break.

It was the second time Nadal played a 4 hours + match, with his third round win over Karen Khachanov ending at 4 hours 23 minutes.

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.

Nadal leads their head-to-head 7-3 with all of their matches coming on clay courts, including in the final of Roland Garros in June when he captured an 11th French Open. "I did it sometime against him, but it's a risky game style because it can happen that I make too many mistake, and then it looks black".

Dominic Thiem said his epic defeat to close friend Rafael Nadal in the US Open quarter-finals will "stay with me forever". "A question of a little bit of luck at the end".

"It's been a great battle", an exhausted Nadal said. It was only the third time in the Open era that a men's No. 1 seed won a match after being bageled in the opening set.

"He's young, he has plenty of time to win big tournaments".

With the great trio of Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic continuing to feature at the back end of the grand slams, the tennis world has been waiting for the next generation to take over - and Thiem put his hand up to be recognised as the most willing of the 25-and-unders. "Tough match against a great opponent".

The Austrian was heartbroken but proud, saying: "It's going to be stuck in my mind forever".

John Isner continued the best season of his career by reaching his first quarter-final in NY for seven years.

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.

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.

"The conditions were tough, a lot of humidity".

When someone urged her to raise her level in the second set, Stephens replied, "I'm trying!"

"I had a shower, lay on the table and I didn't want to come back again. It's good to have now two days (without a match) that probably give me the chance to be 100 percent in the semi-finals".

Isner paid tribute to Del Potro.

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