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Deigo Schwartzman, the No. 13 seed, battles hard against third seed and two-time finalist Dominic Thiem at Roland Garros on Tuesday.

Schwartzman Digs Deep To Beat Thiem For Roland Garros Semi-final

Argentine to play Nadal or Sinner in semi-finals

Diego Schwartzman recorded one of the biggest wins of his career on Tuesday in an energy-sapping five-hour, eight-minute victory for a place in the Roland Garros semi-finals.

Schwartzman, the No. 13 seed, dug deep to win one of the matches of the year, 7-6(1), 5-7, 6-7(6), 7-6(5), 6-2, over third seed Dominic Thiem, the 2018 and 2019 finalist, on Court Philippe-Chatrier in south-west Paris. The victory ensures his place in the Top 10 of the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time on Monday.

Schwartzman, appearing in his fourth major championship quarter-final, recovered from 2-4 down in the first set and 1-3 down in the second set. He had the match on his racquet, but crucially missed a forehand on top of the net with his Austrian opponent serving at 4-5, 15/30 in the second set. Thiem dug deep to save one set point at 4-5 in the third set and three set points at 4-5 in the fourth set, which Schwartzman found a way to win to force a decider.

In the second set [and] the third set, I had a lot of opportunities, also easy opportunities," said Schwartzman. "That's why I was really upset, really angry with myself at the time in the second and in the third, when I was close to winning those sets. It was a tough situation, because in the fourth, he started playing so well. I did come back, serving 5-4, 40/0. He played three unreal points, amazing points, because he's one of the best and he can do it. At that time I was thinking, 'Okay, c'mon, today it's not going to happen."

Schwartzman physically worked his way to his 20th victory of the year (20-9 record), wearing down Thiem, who had chased down drop shots against French wild card Hugo Gaston in a five-hour fourth-round marathon. Schwartzman hit 46 winners, while Thiem could only convert nine of his 22 break point chances and committed 81 unforced errors.

The 28-year-old Schwartzman, runner-up at the recent Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome (d. Djokovic), will now play Spanish second seed and 12-time champion Rafael Nadal or Jannik Sinner of Italy.

Thiem

Thiem saved the first break point of the match, in the opening game, and went on to open up a 4-2 advantage, before Schwartzman broke back and was supreme in the tie-break, winning the first five points.

Thiem immediately regrouped to take a 3-1 lead in the second set, but hit his first double fault to hand Schwartzman the sixth game. At 4-4, Schwartzman dealt Thiem a psychological blow, saving seven break points in a 15-minute hold.

But a forehand miss from Schwartzman on top of the net, with Thiem serving at 4-5, 15/30, proved to be pivotal. It shook up the Austrian, who broke for a 6-5 advantage for a way back into the pair’s ninth ATP Head2Head meeting. The titanic 68-minute second set ended with Schwartzman, often seen scurrying behind the baseline, striking a backhand into the net.

Thiem appeared set to break clear when he clinched the first game of the third set, which incredibly featured eight breaks of serve. Schwartzman opened up 3-1 and 5-3 leads, but forehand errors, on both occasions, cost the Argentine. Thiem, struggling on serve throughout, gifted Schwartzman a set point at 4-5, 30/40, but the Argentine over-hit a backhand and came under pressure in the next game, when he was broken after striking a backhand long.

Thiem, serving for the set, was then broken to 15, but won five straight points from 0/1 in the tie-break. Schwartzman saved two set points from 4/6, but Thiem made it third-time lucky at 7/6 with a smash winner.

Thiem again looked primed for his 21st victory in 26 matches this season, when he took a 2-0 lead in the fourth set. But Schwartzman kept fighting and won four straight games. Just as Thiem’s energy levels looked to dipping with Schwartzman at 5-4, 40/0, the Austrian saved three set points — the final one with an outstanding running forehand winner down the line.

Thiem then levelled the score at 5-5 when Schwartzman hit a forehand into the net. Again, the Argentine almost conjured up a way back, but it was the sheer power of Thiem that saved a break point at 30/40 in the next game. Thiem broke clear early in the tie-break, but Schwartzman held firm to take the clash to a decider once Thiem hit a backhand wide.

Thiem continued to strike with great power in the decider, but Schwartzman stepped up with a 3-2 lead to out-rally the World No. 3 and didn’t look back.

" At the end, I gave everything I had out there," said Thiem. "It was an amazing match. I think the first in my career over five hours. Diego fully deserves it.

"I came back unbelievably in the fourth set. When he served for it at 5-4, 40/0, I played this down-the-line winner. The match was basically all the time on the edge for both of us. [In the] tie-break at 5-5, he played a great point. With that, I think he had a little advantage in the fifth set. I think, if I would have wanted to win that match, I should have done it in four [sets]. In the fifth set, he was just a little bit fresher and better than me."

Thiem, 28, who saw his 11-match winning streak come to an end, is now 28-7 on the season. He captured his first Grand Slam championship title at the US Open (d. Zverev) on 13 September.

Did You Know?
Coming into Roland Garros, Schwartzman was 0-18 when serving at 0/40 this season. The Argentine has now served five times at 0/40 during the clay-court major – once against Lorenzo Giustino in the second round (held), once against Lorenzo Sonego in the fourth round (broken) and three times against Thiem (one hold, twice broken).

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