Nadal's ability to look only forward and forget what went before is one of his most important strengths and he set about turning around the match, closing in on the baseline, forcing Thiem to play one more ball and, eventually, to go for too much.
The Austrian pushed the world No.1 all the way at Flushing Meadows, but 24 hours after Roger Federer fell to John Millman, his old rival just avoided following him out of the tournament, completing a 0-6 6-4 7-5 6-7 (4/7) 7-6 (7/5) victory at 2.03am U.S. time. However, the 32-year-old was fortunate to triumph on another hot and humid night at Flushing Meadows, 24 hours after Roger Federer had been dumped out of the tournament by John Millman. Nadal climbed over the net to hug his opponent, then whisper an apology and words of encouragement.
Nadal had to work hard for the third set, which he won 7-5, but saw the game tied to 2-2 after losing the fourth set 7-6 to Dominic Thiem.
"But he's a great guy".
"In the first set I only won seven points, I hadn't started and it could've been very unpleasant".
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The Austrian blasted 13 winners, made only two unforced errors and allowed Nadal just seven points in winning an extraordinary opening set. The two were neck-in-neck at 5-5 when Nadal carved out a match point with his forehand.
And when quizzed on what he was thinking after being bageled in the opening set, Nadal said: "Wake up, that's all".
It was Rafael Nadal's 12th successive victory in the US Open and with the win, the world number one has now managed to win every single quarter-final match he has appeared in the US Open since 2006.
Ninth seed Thiem became the first player since Andy Roddick in 2004 to win a love set against Nadal in NY but the defending champion once again dug deep to come out on top of a gruelling battle played in more punishing humidity.
Nadal recovered from being broken as he served for the second set in the ninth game with an immediate break back to level the contest.
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Toyota Motor Corp. halted operations at most of its group plants, and Honda Motor Co. stopped its Suzuka plant in Mie prefecture. Universal Studios Japan in Osaka shut down along with factories for several large manufacturers, including auto maker Toyota.
The opener looked to be heading for a tiebreak before Del Potro dispatched a backhand volley to earn himself two more break points in the 10th game.
He added: "It's going to be stuck in my mind forever".
This was tennis at its absolute best, according to David Law (BBC 5 Live) and Catherine Whitaker (Amazon Prime Video), and also a brilliant advert for fifth set tiebreaks.
"You need one more always and give that little bit more". The 36-year-old secured a semi-final berth after defeating Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 in the quarter-final match. I don't want to lose against anybody.
"It's cruel, sometimes, tennis", Thiem said, calling the loss "the first really epic match I've played". I think we nearly all the time have great matches. "It means a lot to me".
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Sane was named PFA Young Player of the Year last season as City stormed to the Premier League title with a 100-point haul. He has done it in training a few times, to be fair, and got in some great positions.
"If we skip the first set, it was a really open match from beginning to the end".