Australian Open: Dominic Thiem stuns Rafael Nadal in four-set thriller

Australian Open: Dominic Thiem stuns Rafael Nadal in four-set thriller

Australian Open: Dominic Thiem stuns Rafael Nadal in four-set thriller

In the first set, Nadal - whose lone Australian Open win was in 2009 - felt he was being rushed and didn't have enough time to cool down, despite air conditioners being attached to the players' benches, as Australian news site News.com.au noted.

Asked if there was anything he would have done differently, Nadal replied: "Yes, win any tiebreak".

Thiem will be facing No. 7 Alexander Zverev in the semifinals. He's playing with a lot of energy, aggression, determination.

"It's really unbelievable that after this moment", Nadal said as he walked towards the umpire's chair. "That's tennis you have to deal with these situations every match". It is when she calls the score.

But lady luck could only carry him so far, with Thiem stumbling as he battled mentally to put Nadal away while serving for the match at 5-4 in the fourth set.

The defining statistic: Thiem won exactly twice as many points that featured nine or more shots, 24-12. "Like, epic", Thiem said.

Alexander Zverev's 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win over Stan Wawrinka provided a bit of relief, after carrying an overwhelming amount of expectations on his shoulder.

"We're good friends. I'm happy for him, as well, that he's playing so good here", said the Austrian, who beat Zverev in the 2018 French Open quarter-finals.

Thiem is shaping as the successor to Nadal's crown at Roland Garros, where he has fallen to the Spaniard in two French Open finals. However, he recovered in impressive fashion to take the match-deciding tie-break.

Already a set down, Nadal began to lose his composure in the second, complaining about a time violation and being bothered by the increasing humidity and a broken air conditioner at his chair that left him sweating profusely.

In a grandstand finish with the terraces roaring, Nadal saved two match points in the decisive tiebreak but surrendered on the third when he slammed a forehand into the net.

The Mallorcan has overcome bigger problems in a long and brilliant career, so there was never any danger he would ever go quietly.

But Thiem did not fold there, getting a third opportunity to close it with a cross-court backhand that glanced off the tape - one of a handful of favourable net cords for him. The Spaniard faced many questions concerning his performance level and frustration on the court, but Nadal had nothing negative to say about his game or Thiem.

When Nadal missed one last forehand, Thiem looked to the sky and spread his arms wide.

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