Rafael Nadal started his U.S. Open quarterfinal as poorly as possible, shut out in a set by a 6-0 score for only the fourth time in 282 career Grand Slam matches.
On the previous three such occurrences, he’d lost. On this one, he managed to come back to win, although it took 4 hours, 49 minutes and never did get easy for him.
The defending champion and No. 1 seed at Flushing Meadows recovered from his calamitous start and other stumbles along the way to beat No. 9 Dominic Thiem 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5) for a semifinal berth at a third back-to-back Grand Slam tournament, winning a physical, back-and-forth tussle that ended after 2 a.m. on Wednesday.
“Very demanding, in all aspects,” said Nadal, who will face 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro on Friday for a berth in the final. “A question of a little bit of luck at the end.”
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