Rafael Nadal beats Thiem, enters US Open semis

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Rafael Nadal survived an onslaught from Dominic Thiem to eventually make the US Open semi-finals on Wednesday morning.

He didn't cast his eyes toward the support team in his box, or send his racquets out to be restrung.

He said: "I have my trophy at home". It was a step forward for me in the dynamic of the tournament.

"If he allows Nadal to control the point, he will be second best".

When it was all over, Nadal was happy to be in a seventh US Open semifinal, but even happier that he'd done everything he could to turn the match around.

"It was a very tough start and then I tried to stay in the match in some way in that second set and I did".

In his 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5) win, Nadal left it all on the court, including his shoes.

"Maybe not if the player is inferior to you, but if it he's not inferior, or is of a similar level".

In one of many memorable points, Nadal hit a almost flawless half volley, only to see Thiem beat him with a ideal crosscourt pass.

Nadal was once again able to recover after going down a break, forcing the set to a tie-breaker.

It was the fourth win for Nadal in four Grand Slam matches against Thiem, the most recent coming in May's French Open Final.

"I don't think he's really sorry", said Thiem with a smile.

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Sevastova came into the match having broken her opponent's serve a tournament-leading 23 times. The quarterfinal exit marks the deepest run Thiem has made at a major other than Roland Garros. "He's a fighter, he has a great attitude".

"Yeah, it's going to be stuck in my mind forever", Thiem said after the match.

"This match didn't deserve a loser, but there has to be one". "But there has to be one".

Nadal will now face Juan Martin del Potro in a repeat of last year's semi-final. The win was sealed when Thiem missed a hard overhead smash long, and Nadal looked to the sky, equal parts overjoyed and relieved.

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

The two players combined for 129 winners-74 for Thiem, 55 for Nadal-and Thiem actually won six more points overall than Nadal did. Nadal looked poised to serve for the match holding a 40-0 lead in the game that included a double fault. 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.

The end of the third set was representative of this dynamic.

The Austrian hung his head before being consoled by Nadal who then held his arms aloft in celebration and relief. I think we nearly all the time have great matches.

"I think in the last three sets I improved". I don't want to lose against anybody. "It was too hot to play tennis", he joked.

"It is good to have two days that probably give me the chance to be 100% in the semi-finals", Nadal added.

Marin Cilic will face Kei Nishikori in a repeat of the 2014 final won by the giant Croat.

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