Sportco Tennis Classics: US Open 2018: Rafael Nadal vs Dominic Thiem

Sportco takes a look at an epic five-set thriller of a match played between Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals of the US Open in 2018.   

Nadal reacts after his late-night victory against Dominic Thiem at the 2018 US Open
Nadal reacts after his late-night victory against Dominic Thiem. Image Credits - US Open - Twitter

Did you know?

Dominic Thiem lost the US Open 2018 Q-F match to Rafael Nadal despite smashing a whopping 74 winners.

Rafa ended up victorious despite winning fewer points (165) than Thiem (171).

How Dominic Thiem blew away Rafa in the first set?

Rafael Nadal had a poor start to the US Open 2018 quarter-finals. The Spaniard struggled with his first serve and Dominic Thiem capitalized on it with his power-hitting. Bagelling the top seed was never easy but the Austrian did that in just 26 minutes. 

The 9th seeded Thiem won 100% of his first-serve points (7/7) compared to Nadal’s 40% (4/10). The Next-Gen star also dominated the Spanish legend by taking 24 out of 31 points including 13 winners. 

Rafael Nadal steps up in the second set against Dominic Thiem

If there is one player who treats every point like his last chance, it has to be Rafa. The Spaniard got his groove back in the second set and served with more accuracy. The winning percentage on the first and second serves went up to 71 and 73 respectively when compared to 40 and 14 in the first set.

Besides that, Thiem’s unforced error count shot up from 2 in the first set to 12 in the second set. The Austrian’s netgame was shaky as he won just 1 out of 4 points. Rafa broke Dominic Thiem once and grabbed the second set 6-4 in 44 minutes.   

Nadal races ahead and clinches the third set versus Thiem 

The third set of this epic US Open 2018 Quarter-Finals witnessed the highest quality of tennis as the attendees at the Arthur Ashe Stadium rooted for both the players. 

The Austrian youngster was aggressive and hit winners off both the forehand and his one-handed backhand. Rafael Nadal was too strong in his defense and came up with some good passing shots to take slender leads. 

The Spaniard’s steely determination came to the fore as he took the third set 7-5 after 67 minutes of physically-grinding rallies. The multi-grand slam champion hit 17 winners to Thiem’s 18. Rafa was rock-solid at the net as he got 12 out of 14 points than Dominic (4/9).

Thiem fights back and takes the 4th set 7-6(4) against Nadal

The 9th seed did not surrender to the defending champion and continued to trouble the Spaniard with his scintillating shotmaking. The Austrian won more points on his second serve and also saved 4 out of 5 breakpoints. 

Rafael Nadal’s nerves and unforced errors in the tiebreaker proved to be the difference as Thiem won it 7-6(4) after 82 minutes.  

Rafa has the last laugh and won the decider 7-6(5) in 75 minutes

The power-game battle continued in the crucial 5th set. A sleeveless Nadal was lightning-fast in his court coverage despite Thiem’s laser-like hitting. Another tiebreaker followed after 12 games of intensity. The Austrian faltered under pressure as he hit an unforced error on Rafa’s first match point. 

The Austrian saved all 5 breakpoints, smashed 17 winners, and also won 7 out of 8 breakpoints. A nice embrace at the net from Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem at the end of their US Open 2018 Q-F revealed mutual respect and sportsmanship between the two gladiators.

Result: Nadal defeated Thiem 0-6 6-4 7-5 6-7(4) 7-6(5) after 4 hours 54 minutes and marched onto the semi-finals of the US Open 2018.

Dear fans, stay tuned to this space for more Tennis Classics as SportCo brings back you some unforgettable memories of the US Open.

Featured Image Credits - US Open - YouTube

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