Rafael Nadal outlasts Dominic Thiem in five-set US Open classic

Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem hugging

Defending champion Rafael Nadal is still alive at the 2018 US Open, but he was given an almighty scare by Dominic Thiem.

It took the 17-time Grand Slam winner four hours and 49 minutes to finally get the better of Thiem as he secured a 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-5) victory just after 2am local time on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The ninth-seeded Thiem achieved the rare feet of baggling the world No 1 in the opening set in just 25 minutes as he adopted brilliant tactics to break three times.

The Austrian continued to play excellent tennis in the second set, but Nadal hung in there and, after they traded a couple of breaks, Thiem had an out-of-sorts service game in game 10 and the Spaniard duly took advantage.

Thiem looked like he would a two-set to one lead after an early break in the third, but Nadal hit back with two late breaks to edge ahead.

The Austrian then took the fourth set via the tie-breaker to take the match to the decider.

The fifth set proved to be a real physical and mental battle with both players producing superb tennis and after no breaks of serve it went to the tie-breaker.

After they shared some early mini-breaks, Nadal eked out a match point and got the job done at the first time of asking.

Next up is Juan Martin del Potro.

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