World No. 3 Dominic Thiem still perfectly remembers his 2018 US Open thriller clash against 19-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal. In 2018, Thiem made his maiden US Open quarterfinal, in which he was edged out by world No.
2 Nadal after a five-set battle 0-6 6-4 7-5 6-7 (4) 7-6 (5). Thiem fell just short of beating Nadal at the US Open two years ago but earlier this year he sent the Spaniard packing from the Australian Open. "I still love to remember that match, as it was 100% one of the three best matches I've ever played.
Great atmosphere out there. I remember already the round before against Anderson, who was back then the finalist of US Open, '17, I played great tennis. I kept that good feeling until the quarterfinals against Rafa," Thiem recalled his 2018 US Open clash against Nadal.
"I think we both played on a good level. Was almost five hours. Great match of tennis. Of course, I was really disappointed not to get the win back then. It helped me to play a great finish of that year, gave me a big boost of confidence.
Right after I played a great Davis Cup tie. I won St. Petersburg, I won semis, Paris Bercy where I qualified for the ATP Finals. That gave me a huge boost for the rest of the season. "Definitely it's something I will remember forever.
I love to watch the highlights or sometimes even the whole match when I'm bored or when I try to relive the feeling somehow (smiling). Definitely great moments for me to remember."
Thiem through to the third round
On Thursday, second-seeded Thiem saw off Indian Sumit Nagal in straight sets 6-3 6-3 6-2 to set up a third round meeting against 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic.
Nadal and record 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer are not playing this year's US Open and Thiem is the second top favorite to win it all at the tournament this year. "Was my first night match on Arthur Ashe back then.
I think the matchup with Rafa is most of the times great, great rallies, very attractive rallies. In general it's amazing to share the court with him. I think we like each other a lot, respect each other a lot, have had many battles already," Thiem added of his thriller Nadal clash. "The atmosphere was great. I think we both delivered quite good on that day."