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Top seed Rafael Nadal has been pushed all the way in his US Open quarter final, needing five sets and almost five hours to overcome Austria's Dominic Thiem, in a match that finished after 2am NY time.

Top seed Nadal had only lost a set 6-0 at a grand slam on three previous occasions - the 2015 Australian Open, 2006 Wimbledon and the 2004 US Open.

Remarkably, Thiem was the first top-20 player Nadal has faced at Flushing Meadows since his final win over Novak Djokovic in 2013.

Nadal said: "It was very demanding in all aspects".

Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori face each other in a rematch of the 2014 final while, in the remaining women's quarter-finals, Madison Keys takes on Carla Suarez Navarro and Naomi Osaka meets Lesia Tsurenko. The world No 1 and three-time victor at Flushing Meadows came within two points of victory, but Thiem wound up taking the fourth set on a tiebreak. "Every match really means a lot to me". "But I just keep going".

"It will be a very tough one", Nadal added of his last-four tie.

Nadal evened the match by breaking in the final game of the second set.

The defending champion has been severely tested in each of his last three matches, with Karen Khachanov and Nikoloz Basilashvili also taking a set off him, but the 32-year-old remains one of the greatest fighters in sporting history and he overcame another major hurdle.

The Austrian was heartbroken but proud, saying: "It's going to be stuck in my mind forever". That win should build confidence for Thiem as he takes on the tournament's number one ranked player.

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"To reach the semifinal again here in NY in my favourite tournament is very special to me", said Del Potro after his eighth win over Isner in 12 meetings.

With a heat wave striking NY and temperatures crossing 27 degrees at night, it appeared that Nadal would see off the tie with a four-set victory but Thiem's seemed to have found his mojo once again. It was a question of a little bit of luck at the end.

She then dropped her racket and held her hands to her face as a Stephens shot went into the net on the match's final point.

But when he came out to serve for the set at 5-4, the Austrian was visibly hesitant, Nadal bounded behind the baseline.

"Tennis is sometimes cruel, this game didn't deserve a loser but there has to be one and, if we skip the first set, we were well matched from start to finish", he noted.

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.

The popular third seed will now attempt to take a step he has not managed since winning his only grand slam title here nine years ago and reach another final.

"To play John in these kind of matches, it's like an epic". Law and Whitaker say it feels like there's an irresistible force behind del Potro that's pushing him to the title.


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