ESPN captures epic shot of Rafael Nadal after marathon match

Iron man Dominic Thiem celebrates after beating Kevin Anderson

Iron man Dominic Thiem celebrates after beating Kevin Anderson More

Rafael Nadal began 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.

But in a titanic battle worthy of a final, with stunning winners on both racquets and breathtaking defence, top seed Nadal rallied to outlast Thiem 0-6 6-4 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-5) in the longest match of this year's tournament - four hours and 49 minutes.

Dominic Thiem will remember the day he nearly beat Rafael Nadal at a Grand Slam.

But the 17-time major champion was completely dismantled in the opening set by the red-hot Dominic Thiem in NY, where the Austrian ninth seed annihilated Nadal in just 24 minutes. Nadal beat del Potro last year in the semifinals at Flushing Meadows, and again this year in the semifinals of the French Open. "He will have his chances in the future without a doubt", Nadal said.

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Find out how to watch Nadal vs Thiem live online streaming with or without cable when the match starts at approximately 9 pm EST, or when the previous match concludes.

Nadal was clearly rattled and lost the first three points of the tiebreak that Thiem won 7-4 to force a fourth set. Happy, of course, to be in semi-finals again, it means a lot to me.

Despite lasting just short of five hours - the longest match of the tournament thus far - the quality never waned, and while the ninth seed appeared to have more left in the tank, Nadal's grit and determination dragged him through. "Not insane, but tough", Nadal said.

The Nadal who was gassed and wearing a cooling vest during breaks in the first set was no more. "The only true is that you have to be able to do things better to be able to fight for the point and fight for the match, no?"

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"I would say the first really epic match I played". He's a great guy, a close friend who will have many more opportunities to win the big titles.

It was only the fourth time in his long grand slam history that Nadal had lost a set 6-0 and just the third time at any level in almost seven years.

He faces Juan Martin del Potro in the semifinals Friday. "Forever I'm going to remember this match, for sure", said Thiem after his first ever hard court match against Nadal.

"Yeah, it's going to be stuck in my mind forever", Thiem said after the match.

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With the great trio of Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic continuing to feature at the back end of the grand slams, the tennis world has been waiting for the next generation to take over - and Thiem put his hand up to be recognised as the most willing of the 25-and-unders. Del Potro beat John Isner in a match that played out as most people expected. Defending champion Stephens is up first on Arthur Ashe Stadium, facing No. 19 seed Anastasija Sevastova in a rematch of Stephens' three-set victory in the same round at Flushing Meadows a year ago.

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