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Schwartzman upsets Thiem in five-hour epic to reach French Open semi-final

Diego Schwartzmann reached his first semi-final at a Grand Slam tournament after a five-set victory over the third seed Dominic Thiem.
Diego Schwartzmann reached his first semi-final at a Grand Slam tournament after a five-set victory over the third seed Dominic Thiem. AFP
3 min

Twelfth seed Diego Schwartzman moved into the last four of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time on Tuesday after a five-hour five set epic against the third seed Dominic Thiem.

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Schwartzman claimed the tie 7-6, 5-7, 6-7, 7-6, 6-2.

“Dominic is one of the best players in the world and we are friends and it is an important win for me,” Schwartzman told on-court interviewer Cedric Pioline after the match.

The 28-year-old Argentine claimed the first set on a tie break. 

A slugfest developed in the second with Thiem unable to power his way past his adversary.

Missed opportunities

Thiem then fluffed seven break points when Schwartzman was serving at 4-4.

However Schwartzman held on firm. But at 5-5 another two break points came Thiem’s way. 

Schwartzman’s third double fault of the encounter followed by a forehand error gave Thiem the break and the opportunity to serve for the set.

The 27-year-old Austrian duly obliged to level the match after two hours and 13 minutes.

There was a ragged start to the third with the two exchanging breaks of serve. Schwartzman eventually emerged with the crucial break but failed to serve out when leading 5-3.

Even then he had a set point when Thiem was serving to level at 5-5 but he messed up that chance. 

The set went to a tiebreak and Thiem came out the victor, eight points to six. 

Shift of momentum

The two-time runner-up looked set fair for a semi-final rendez-vous after racing into a 2-0 lead at the start of the fourth set.

But Schwartzman went on a roll of four consecutive games to take command but he faltered when serving a 5-4. Another tiebreak ensued but Schwartzmann claimed it seven points to five.

After more than four hours, the match, entering the decider, had the components to transcend the ages.

But, with a rapidly diminishing Thiem, it lodged instead in the realm of the extraordinary. Schwartzman gained the initiative and after squandering the openings earlier in the match, he closed in for glory.

“I was talking to my coach and I was a little crazy because I missed the chances in the second and third set,” Schwartzman said. “But I played with heart and guts and reaching the semi-final is a big step for me. I am very happy.”

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