Thiem knocks 2017 finalist Anderson out of US Open

Tanya Simon
September 5, 2018

Next up for Nadal is Thiem who he defeated in the Roland Garros final in June when he captured an 11th French Open.

Their rivalry has taken an envious route, skipping from Argentina up to Monaco before flitting about Spain, France and Italy for seven matches in 13 months.

Nadal and Thiem have met ten times so far on Tour, and, remarkably, all have been contested on clay courts.

I could go very far back like I do on clay usually. "I hope to be ready to make that happen".

"It's a big victory for me", Nadal, the champion in 2010, 2013 and 2017, said.

"Thiem is more of a specialist on clay, and so am I, so it [playing him on hard court] is not something favorable for me", the US Open defending champion told Spanish press on Sunday following his four-set win over Nikoloz Basilashvili.

It would do him well to cling on to that thought.

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After two five set battles in the first three rounds of the US Open‚ South Africa's Kevin Anderson just didn't have enough in his armoury to escape the fourth round on Sunday night.

Thiem lost the 2018 French Open final against Nadal‚ and has a chance at redemption when the two meet on Tuesday. He's only won it three times.

The 32-year-old has certainly been pushed in his last two matches, both of which have gone to four sets. He is on the verge of another shot at his first ever grand slam title. But he was given rather more trouble by American #3 Steve Johnson. "He is young and has plenty of time to win tournaments". While that matchup seems like a mismatch, at least based on their respective Grand Slam track records - one owns 23 major championships; the other never has been past the quarterfinals - Kanepi is a big hitter who eliminated No. 1 Simona Halep in the first round.

It took a while for Nadal to figure out what was wrong and become Thiem's equal in entertaining, body-punishing baseline exchanges that inspired loud gasps from spectators. Even if it's he's not totally comfortable in the role. "So I didn't face one break point, and I didn't feel so much pressure on service games", said Thiem. I had the passion to keep going always'. He looked done from the start, losing 16 of the first 21 points in a set that took only 24 minutes for Thiem to claim.

There's a good chance he will never play a better set in his life and it was inevitable there would be a slight dip, but Nadal was still nowhere near his best.

He cited Thiem's powerful, disciplined groundstrokes, which can do damage across multiple surfaces.

Nadal seemed to be on the verge of cracking the code when he broke back in the fourth and came within two points of winning the match. Against Thiem, he expects a challenge. He knows how I am playing. It is likely to be another tough battle and it would not be a surprise if it goes the distance, but expect the number one seed to prevail.

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