A leaf out of Nadal's book
But the sheer fact that Thiem has won three of those meetings makes their quarter-final clash at Flushing Meadows all the more intriguing.
“It’s a different kind of match than clay but it’s still a tennis match,” said the defending champion Nadal, who came through another tough test in round three, beating Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia 6-3, 6-3, 6-7, 6-4 on Sunday.
“It’s different but I know how he plays, he knows how I am playing. Going to be an interesting one, tough one, for both of us, the player who plays better will have the best chance.”
Imitation, they say, is the best form of flattery. Thiem has taken a leaf out of Nadal’s book when it comes to his return position, standing almost against the back fence to retrieve first serves.