In one of the best quarterfinal matches in French Open history, Diego Schwartzman reached his first career Grand Slam final, and he had to do it the hard way, the very hard way. The Argentine need five sets and five hours, eight minutes to upset good friend Dominic Thiem 7-6(1), 5-7, 6-7(6), 7-6(5), 6-2.
“Dominic is one of the best players right now in the world,” Schwartzman said on court. “Winning the last Grand Slam, two times final here, we are friends – I have a lot of respect for him.”
The grinding, marathon match features 119 points of 9 or more strokes. Schwartzman was down a break early in the first two sets, but was able to fight back. And had chances to go up two sets.
He had chances in the third as well, but and early break in the fifth was all he needed.
“In the second and in the third set, when I was close to winning those sets, I couldn’t do it,” Schwartzman said. “At that time I was thinking that today it’s not going to happen, because I had a lot of opportunities. Easy, tough ones, hard – every single opportunity was different and I didn’t take them.”
Thiem had more winners 65 to 47, but also more errors 81 to 62. The 5-foot-7 Schwartzman hit 189 serves, but registered one ace.
The US Open champion had won his last 11 matches including a 5-set win over Hugo Gaston on Sunday. But it’s been quite a run for the Austrian.
“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. 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.
“To be honest I was over the limit today,” he said. “At the end I gave everything that I had out there, it was an amazing match.”
Schwartzman will have two days off before a rematch with Rafael Nadal who he just beat in Rome. Nadal, in his 100th career match at Roland Garros, overcame a break down in the first two sets to beat 19-year-old Jannik Sinner 7-6(4), 6-4, 6-1 in a match that ended just before 1:30am.
Playing his first French Open, Sinner was able to match Nadal off the ground. But in the key moments, Nadal’s experience showed through.
Nadal finished 6/8 on break chances, Sinner 2/7. He was also +4 in the winner-to-error department, Sinner -13. And the youngster won just 5 points on serve in the third set.
“I’m very, very happy to be in the semi-finals again here at Roland Garros,” Nadal said. “No doubt that this is the most important place for me and the most beautiful place to play. Just very, very happy.
“Sinner is a very, very young talent with a lot of power, great shots. For two sets it was tough, especially at the end of that first set. I was lucky to be back from 5-6, having to break him back. The conditions here were a little bit difficult because he was hitting every ball very hard,” Nadal added. “For me it was difficult to pull him out of position. I think in the third set I did much better and I finished playing much more aggressive. That was the only way.”
Most peg the 75th-ranked Sinner to be a future Top 10 player.
“I’m a person who looks not in the future and not in the past, always in the present,” said Sinner. “It’s nice to hear. At the end you have to show everything. I didn’t win anything until now. OK, NextGen, it’s one tournament. At the end I didn’t won anything.
“It’s just head down and trying to improve, trying to play hours after hours on court, which I need to do. I have a great team behind me. We will see in 12 months where I am.”
Nadal improves to 98-2 overall at the French Open. He would get his 100th on Sunday and that win could come over Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic returns tomorrow in a rematch of his US Open encounter with Pablo Carreno Busta. Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas also meet in a replay of their Hamburg final won the Russian.
WEDNESDAY FRENCH OPEN SCHEDULE
** Court Philippe CHATRIER ** Début à 12h00
1 SD Q Petra KVITOVA (CZE)  contre Laura SIEGEMUND (GER)
2 SD Q Danielle COLLINS (USA) contre Sofia KENIN (USA)
3 SM Q Andrey RUBLEV (RUS)  contre Stefanos TSITSIPAS (GRE) 
4 SM Q Novak DJOKOVIC (SRB)  contre Pablo CARRENO BUSTA (ESP) 
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