The Spanish Rafael Nadal, world number one, was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open by the Austrian Dominic Thiem (5th), who won 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 7-6 (8/6), in his first victory over his rival in a Grand Slam tournament.
“I was lucky at critical moments, the net was in my favor,” said Thiem, especially in reference to the penultimate point of the match, when a blow from him touched the net and was a point for the Austrian.
“But Rafa is one of the best in the world and you always have to be lucky to beat him,” added Thiem, who counted on the network as an ally at various points.
At the end of a match of rare intensity, both physically and emotionally, the 28-year-old Austrian, who had lost the last two Roland Garros finals to Nadal, qualified for his first semi-final in Melbourne, where he will face German Alexander Zverev. (7th).
Of course I am sad. I lost an opportunity to be in the semifinals of another Grand Slam, “said Nadal. But I lost to a great rival. And he deserved it too. I congratulate him, “added the Spaniard.
The defeat leaves the 33-year-old Nadal having to wait another year to become the first tennis player in the Open era, and only the third in history, to win all four Grand Slam titles twice, behind Roy Emerson and Rod. Laver.
The Australian Open is where Nadal has obtained his worst results in Grand Slam tournaments, having only won this tournament once, in 2009, also losing four finals.
Asked if he would have done something different in the match to win it, Nadal replied: “Yes, win a tie-break.”
But things are like that. Sometimes things don’t go your way. But he played with the proper determination. with a lot of energy and aggressiveness “, explained Nadal.
– Thien’s first Grand Slam win –
Thiem and Nadal had met thirteen times, and if the Austrian had won four of those matches, Nadal had prevailed in all five in which they had met in the framework of a Grand Slam tournament, including the last two Roland finals. Garros.
In the first two sets, Nadal had managed to break Thiem’s serve, but the Austrian managed on each occasion to regain it and win the tie break.
In fact, Thiem won all three sets, which would give him victory, in the tie-break.
Nadal lost his usual calm at one point in the game. After a long point, he exceeded the set time to serve and received a warning, when the score was 3-2 and 30/30 in the second set.
“It’s amazing that after a point like this, I set the timer so fast. You don’t like good tennis, “Nadal then launched to the referee.
Nadal’s outpouring of joy at winning the third set was significant in both his will and his relief.
In the fourth set, it was Thiem who first broke his rival’s serve, to take a 5-4 lead and serve to conclude the match. But Nadal regained the serve, taking it to 5-5 and then a third tie-break in the match, which again fell to Thiem’s side. AFP