Rafael Nadal knocked out of Australian Open by Dominic Thiem

Dominic Thiem celebrates after beating Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open. (Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images)

There will be no Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open semifinals.

The world No. 1 lost his quarterfinal match to Austrian Dominic Thiem on Wednesday, falling 7-6(3), 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-6(6). The fifth-ranked Thiem is just the second Austrian man or woman to reach the Australian Open semifinals.

Nadal and Thiem both played aggressively, but it never felt like either one had an advantage. Nadal won the first game of the first set, and then Thiem won to make it even. They alternated like that until they were tied 3-3, when Nadal managed two win two straight games. Thiem rallied to win the next two and the set eventually went to a tiebreaker, with Thiem edging Nadal 6-3 to take the first set.

The second set played out similarly. Nadal was able to get ahead 4-2, but Thiem won three straight games and the two ended up knotted at 6-6 again. Nadal lost the tiebreak despite charging back from a 4-0 deficit, and now he was playing with the match on the line.

The third set could have been the turning point for Nadal. He had shown a lot of fight in the set 2 tiebreak, and continued to show it as he fought to extend the match. He managed to keep Thiem at bay long enough to actually win a set without a tiebreaker, but Thiem wouldn’t be stopped.

He and Nadal continued to play pretty evenly in the fourth set, and even the tiebreaker was a squeaker: Thiem won 7-6, emerging victorious after a four hour and 10 minute match. It was the first time in Nadal’s tour career that he’s lost three tiebreakers in one match.

Thiem will face No. 7 Alexander Zverev in the semifinals. In his post-match interview, Thiem was already looking forward to it.

The winner of Thiem vs. Zverev will face the winner of the match between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

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