Diego En Fuego! Schwartzman Upsets Zverev To Reach US Open Quarter-finals
Alexander Zverev walked onto the court inside Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday afternoon with 14 sets and just short of 10 hours of tennis in his legs through three matches. Although the reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion was able to find a way to the Round of 16 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for the first time, all of the energy the German had expended finally caught up to him.
No. 20 seed Diego Schwartzman ousted the sixth seed 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 to reach his second US Open quarter-final in three years. The Argentine, who made it to this round without dropping a set, played steady tennis throughout to tie the biggest win of his career by ATP Ranking (No. 6) after three hours and eight minutes.
"I had many chances in that first set, so I was thinking after that how to figure out how to take the chances, to be leading in the score in the second set quickly. I did a great save at 2-All in the second set. It was very, very important for me," Schwartzman said. "He's a big guy when he's up in the score, so it was important to win that game. After that, I think I started to change a little bit my game and I started to think, 'Okay, now this is how I need to play.'"
The match’s decisive moment came with Zverev serving at 5-4 in the third set. After saving one set point, the 11-time ATP Tour champion moved into the net, and fought off a tough backhand volley before a quick flurry ensued, reflexing back a forehand volley and then a backhand volley. But finally, Schwartzman lined up a backhand down the line, crisply striking it past the sixth seed before turning to his camp with both arms raised into the air.
That rally gave Schwartzman — the fresher of the two players — a two-sets-to-one lead, meaning Zverev would need to claim his third five-set victory of the tournament to advance. Schwartzman, a three-time ATP Tour champion who triumphed in Los Cabos last month, pushed his foot even harder on the gas by breaking immediately in the fourth set and then breaking for the eighth time in the match en route to a 4-0 lead.
And while Zverev showed his battling spirit by earning one of those service breaks back, he simply gave himself too large a task to complete. Schwartzman held to 30 to close out his triumph, cracking a massive forehand winner before throwing his arms up in celebration once again. That was his 34th winner of the match.
Zverev, who struck 17 double faults, was never able to consistently seize control of the rallies against the speedy Argentine. In fact, it was Schwartzman who at points was pushing the German back and forcing him to play defence. And Schwartzman won rallies that lasted longer than four shots by a margin of 73-56.
"In the third and in the fourth [sets], I tried to do the same: trying to be aggressive, trying to do good defences," Schwartzman said. "It was a great match after that first set."
Zverev was trying to become the first German to make a quarter-final in Flushing Meadows since Tommy Haas in 2007. This was the first time the 22-year-old advanced to the Round of 16 in New York.
"It's been a much better week for me than it's been in the past few months. I can take positives out of that," Zverev said. "It was difficult conditions for me. It was very slow out there. The court was playing very low and very slow, actually the opposite of what would be preferred for me. But credit to him. He played a great match. I thought he was playing very aggressive. He's playing well."