Diego Schwartzman claimed one of the most impressive wins of his career as he stunned Marin Cilic to continue his superb run at the US Open.
Showing his famed batting qualities, he lost the first set to the Croat 6-4, before turning the match round, taking the next two sets 7-5, before completing the win by taking the fourth set 6-4.
Into the fourth round round of the US open for the first time – which also represents his best ever performance at a Grand Slam, he said afterwards: “There were a lot of ups and downs in the match. Every time in the third set, as well. I was a break up two times, I think, and then I can close the third set 7-5.
“Then in the fourth I started to be a little bit nervous. When I served 5-2, I think he played much better than me. I didn’t do many mistakes. But then in the 5-4, it was just one break, and there it start the nerves in my body and was really tough the last game, but I can win and I am really happy.”
Standing at only 5ft 7in does mean he’s perceived to be at a disadvantage, though he says: “Sometimes it’s helping a lot if you are big, because you can serve fast, you can do everything fast on the baseline because you have more, the arms are bigger than me. But I hope maybe people can understand tennis is for everyone, it’s not just for the tall guys.”
Also believing more ‘newer’ faces are coming through, and opportunities opening up for them to reach the latter stages of major tournaments, he says: “I think it’s a little bit of a new era with many players, new players. Many young players are playing amazing tennis. Shapovalov, Zverev, Thiem, Coric are playing really, really well. I am a little bit old than those guys, but I try to improve every year.
“Sometimes you can play better than two years before when you are 25, 26, and I think the years, for me, are really good. I am improving year by year.”
Asked if he was surprised with how well he’s done in New York – he was though knocked out of the first round of the men’s doubles competition – he said: “Yeah, I am a little bit surprised, but the last weeks I was playing really well. I reached the third round in Paris and quarters in Montreal.
“I think my confidence, it’s going up. I think in every match I can win. I am playing well and try to be like this every match.”
The 25-year-old was born in the Buenos Aires, and in an interview earlier this year, revealed that while he didn’t attend a Hebrew school in the Argentine capital, he does observe Jewish holidays and receives great support from the Jewish population in his hometown, “I am Jewish and in Argentina, we have many Jewish [people] there, and all the people there know me,” he said.
With no other players in the top 10 left in the bottom half of the draw, his next opponent, 16th seeded Frenchman Lucas Pouille, is the highest ranking player left he would have to face on his route to the final. He’ll be bidding for a place in the quarter-finals later on Sunday, with the match scheduled to be second on the Grandstand Court.