World number one tennis player Rafael Nadal has been sensationally knocked out of the season-opening Grand Slam event in Melbourne after losing his quarter-final clash to Austrian rising star Dominic Thiem.
The match which lasted more than four hours ended in favor of the Austrian sensation-maker 7-6, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6.
Both players confidently held their serve in the first set until Nadal broke Thiem to take a comfortable 5-3 lead.
It seemed that the number one ranked player would easily take the openning set as he was serving having a two-game advantage, but the fifth seed Austrian showed fierce resistance on court clutching at a chance to return the break and stretching the game into a nail-biting tiebreak.
The 26-year-old Austrian who was visibly inspired by his successful offensive actions went on sending powerful shots on Nadal’s side of the net winning the tiebreak 7-6.
The second set fully mirrored the match-opener with Nadal making a solid start and Thiem immediately fighting back with a thunderous return of serve which stunned the 19-time Grand Slam winner who was again beaten at a nerve-racking tiebreak.
Nadal attempted to reverse the course of the game in the third set, but all his efforts to break his tenacious rival appeared in vain until the ninth game when the Spaniard took the crucial point on Thiem’s serve winning the set 6-4.
The two-time French Open finalist responded with a brilliant game on Nadal’s serve, taking a 3-1 lead in the beginning of the fourth set. However, he failed to retain the advantage, allowing the higher-ranked Spaniard to make a comeback and tie the game at 5-5.
The unstoppable Austrian athlete proved once again that tie-breaks are his forte as he defeated his more decorated rival, knocking him out of the major tournament. In the semi-final Thiem will face off against Germany’s Alexander Zverev, who defeated Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland in his quarter-final.