Thiem: "Nadal defeat will stick in my mind forever"
After being two points away from beating Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem said he will never be able to forget his US Open quarter-final loss.
Dominic Thiem's US Open quarter-final defeat to Rafael Nadal is one that will stick in his mind "forever".
Thiem produced a stunning first-set performance to take the opener without losing a game but fell victim to a Nadal fightback. The Austrian was able to force a decider after dropping sets two and three, but a tight tie-break went the way of Nadal, the defending champion moving on to a semi-final with Juan Martin del Potro courtesy of a 0-6 6-4 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-5) triumph.
Nadal holds an 8-3 record in his head to head with Thiem, having also prevailed in the pair's meeting at Roland Garros as the Spaniard claimed an 11th French Open title.
While that encounter was settled in straight sets, Thiem was agonisingly close to his first major victory over Nadal on this occasion, and seeing the opportunity slip from his grasp is something that he says will never leave him.
"Stuck in my mind forever"
Thiem told a post-match media conference: "It's going to be stuck in my mind forever. Forever I'm going to remember this match, for sure.
"It's cruel sometimes tennis, because I think this match didn't really deserve a loser. But there has to be one. And I would say if we skip the first set, it was a really open match from the beginning to the end. The way it ended up in the fifth set tiebreaker, there it's 50-50. He made one more point than me.
"I would say [this is] the first really epic match I played. I played some good ones before, but not that long, not that long against the great guys on the grand slam stage.
"I'm happy that I did this for the first time, even if it went the wrong way. Of course, now I'm devastated a little bit. But in few days I will look back and will remember how great it was to play in front of a packed Arthur Ashe this great match."
"He's a great guy. I don't want to lose against anybody. But now I wish him the title the most, that's for sure. I think we almost all the time have great matches. I hope that we have many more in the future with a different end."
Though the match was played in the night session, allowing Nadal and Thiem to avoid the searing daytime temperatures that have had a significant impact on the tournament, the ninth seed still felt the conditions played their part.
"I already played under worse conditions. It's nicer to play [at] night than under the full sun. The only thing which was uncomfortable was the sweating I couldn't run any more in the fourth set because the shoes were completely wet," Thiem said.
"Also changing the clothes doesn't really make sense because after three, four points anyway you're completely wet again."