The world No.1 and the Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal suffered an elimination today against Dominic Thiem. The Austrian player defeated Rafa with 3-1, by sets 7-6(3), 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-6(6). The match lasted for four hours and 10 minutes.
As you can see, Thiem won all of his three sequences through tiebreak, and we need to point out that although this match went into four sets, it was a highly intense one, which could go either way.
Even if Nadal won, it wouldn’t be unfair, because Spaniard too displayed excellent performance, but lacked a little bit of luck in the decisive moments. Only in the last few games, including a tiebreaker, Thiem won a few points after having help from the net.
“We already had this epic match [at the US Open] in New York two years ago, and today I had a feeling I was lucky in the right situations. The net cord was on my side. He is one of the greatest of all time, so you do sometimes need luck to beat him,” Thiem said.
But on the other hand, he had 65 winners in this clash, and won 78% of points on his first serve.
The opening two sets were fabulous to watch, with breakpoints, rebreaks, fantastic pace and powerful strokes on both sides. The Austrian had the edge eventually in tiebreaks, but he was working extremely hard in order to get that.
Nadal responded in the third set, and many believed that Rafa might come back. He would lose the serve early on in the fourth, yet managed to save himself while serving to stay in the match. After that, it was he who made a breakpoint.
Thiem also had an advantage early in the tiebreak, but Nadal rose back again, and in the moments when the result was tied, he lost both points on his service. Once again, the Spaniard had the chance to extend the match, but he couldn’t hold on to it.
“It was so mentally tough and I could not handle it, but I managed to turn it around again. There were a few demons in the head. I was rushing too much and changing my tactics. I am very happy I won the tiebreak,” Thiem explained his experience in those roller coaster moments near the end of the match.
This was Thiem’s first win over Nadal after five straight defeats, among which two were at the most recent editions of Roland Garros. He will clash with Alexander Zverev in the semis.
The young German defeated Stanislas Wawrinka earlier today with 3-1, after making a rally. The Swiss won the opening set with 6-3 but lost the next three straight 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. So far, Thiem has an edge in their encounters, winning six of the past eight. The last was at the Nitto ATP Finals in London, when the Austrian blasted Zverev in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3.
In the ladies part of the tournament, Garbine Muguruza defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenko with 2-0, 7-5, 6-3. It is also her first appearance in the semifinals of the Australian Open, and her opponent will be fourth seed Simona Halep.
The Romanian was more than confident against Anet Kontaveit, leaving just two games to her opponent, 6-1, 6-1.
Tomorrow, we have a clash of two legends, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, in the first men’s semis at this year’s Australian Open.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.