At the end of four hours and 49 minutes, at 2:04 am NY time, that's the word Thiem was left ruing.
Rafael Nadal, of Spain, celebrates after defeating Dominic Thiem, of Austria, during the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open, early on Wednesday in NY.
But in a titanic battle worthy of a final, with stunning winners on both rackets and breathtaking defense, the top-seeded Nadal rallied to outlast Thiem, 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-5), in the longest match of this year's tournament - four hours and 49 minutes.
It was the longest match of the 69 that Nadal has played at the U.S. Open. Not only was Nadal two points from losing at 5-all in the closing tiebreaker, but he finished with fewer total points, 171-166.
"I told myself "wake up", said Nadal.
The Argentine sent down nine aces and 33 winners to seal a one-sided victory over the 20th seed in just over two hours, with Coric making 30 unforced errors to undermine his own cause.
Juan Mart'n Del Potro of Argentina celebrates after match point against Borna Coric of Croatia (not pictured) in the fourth round on day seven of the US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Rafa finally started to play with more aggression in set number three, saving a break point at 2-2 before wasting two game points in game seven and allowing Thiem to break him with a return victor. "I hope that we have many more in the future with a different end".
Perhaps Thiem, after a change of socks and shoes, looked the fresher going into the decider but he needed to save two break points at 2-2, one with an ace, to maintain parity. "I don't want to lose against anybody, but now I wish him the title the most, that's for sure".
"I already played under worse conditions".
"Dominic is an exemplary player on the circuit, and when you get to 5-5 in the fifth set, the tie-break is really on the toss of a coin". There are the matches he actually loses - as the past and present world No. 1, a 17-time major victor, these are rare - but not before leaving behind a Mediterranean Sea's worth of sweat and tears.
"Against Rafa, I've had three very nice experiences and seven disgusting experiences", said Thiem who turned 25 on Monday.
Everything was on Thiem's racquet in the opening set, delivering only the fourth bagel in Nadal's Grand Slam career (Andy Roddick at the US Open 2004, Roger Federer at Wimbledon 2006 and Tomas Berdych at the Australian Open 2015) after winning 24 out of 31 points! I know how he plays, he knows how I am playing. I think we nearly all the time have great matches.
Nadal holds an 11-5 record against Del Potro.
The opener looked to be heading for a tiebreak before Del Potro dispatched a backhand volley to earn himself two more break points in the 10th game.