Diego Schwarzman reached his first slam semi-final with a five-set, five-hour win over the US Open champion, while there was another surprise victory for Argentina courtesy of the qualifier Nadia Podoroska
Some news, courtesy of Tumaini Carayol:
Iga Swiatek and Martina Trevisan are now getting under way, as the clock ticks past 9pm, and there’s still Rafa Nadal and Jannik Sinner to come after that. After Nadal’s grumbles at the start of the tournament about the heavy balls and cold conditions, I wonder what he’ll make of this situation. Our coverage will stop here, but I’ll leave you with Tumaini Carayol’s report on Nadia Podoroska’s superb win over Elina Svitolina earlier. It’s certainly been a day for the Argentinian underdogs. Thanks for your company, do join me again tomorrow. Bye!
The pair have a friendly chat at the net, before patting each other on the back, the rule breakers. But who’s going to pull them up on that after the match they’ve just produced. Thiem walks off court and will know he’s got a great chance of winning this tournament one day, but this event came too soon after his breakthrough slam win at the US Open just over three weeks ago. He faded fast in a final set that didn’t hit the dramatic heights of the rest of the match. As Thiem takes his leave, Schwartzman, still with a smile as big as the heart he showed today, says:
Dominic is one of the best players right now in the world, winning the last slam, two-times final here. We’re friends, I have a lot of respect for him, that’s why this match is so important to me. This is the third time I’ve played five sets here, this time I deserved to win.
It’s probably best if Schwartzman doesn’t glance at the scoreboard, though, given the way he’s frozen when leading during this match. We probably can’t blame him given it’s only 12 degrees in Paris. But enough chatter about the weather, Thiem is serving to stay in a tournament where he has reached the final the past two years. This would be his earliest exit at the event since 2015. At 30-all, Thiem is living dangerously, and Schwartzman has match point when Thiem’s backhand meekly slumps into the net! Thiem then nets again with a tame drop shot and that’s game, set and match Schwartzman! The victor takes off his cap, raises his arms into the air and beams at his box. What a match.
Thiem looks spent. Schwartzman holds comfortably for 5-2. The Argentinian 12th seed has never beaten a top-five player at a slam, let alone reached a major semi-final. This would be a career-defining win for him.
A good stat from the ATP: Nadal has spent seven hours, 15 minutes on court so far, from the first round to the fourth, while Thiem has been inconvenienced for eight hours, 24 minutes and counting in the fourth round and quarter-finals alone. If Thiem does advance and assuming Nadal does against Jannik Sinner – whether that match still takes place today or tomorrow – would Thiem have enough in the tank in the semi-finals to trouble the 12-times champion who he’s lost to in the past two Roland Garros finals?
But back to the action. It’s another hold for Schwartzman. This match hasn’t really caught fire in the final set, but just as I type that, Thiem slumps 0-15, 0-30, 0-40 behind. The first break points of the decider. And on the stroke of five hours, Schwartzman will hope he’s struck the decisive blow when a tired-looking Thiem nets. Schwartzman leads 7-6, 5-7, 6-7, 7-6, 4-2.
It’s also admirable how Thiem has the energy to be moving well after four and a half hours, only weeks after winning the US Open and two days after his five-setter against Hugo Gaston. There’s not much giving on serve here, with another hold apiece, both to 30. It’s 2-2.
The 5ft 7in Schwartzman is still looking sprightly as he skips around the court in the first game of the fifth set. We probably shouldn’t keep referring to his height, but it really is impressive how he can go toe-to-toe with the world’s best players, many of whom are close to a foot taller than him. Inch for inch, you could say he’s been the better player today. Schwartzman holds to love; Thiem holds to 30. It’s 1-1 in the final set.
… Thiem misses his first serve, lands the second, and after a short exchange miscues into the tramlines! After four hours and 34 minutes, this one is going the distance. It was always going to end this way. It’s Schwartzman 7-6, 5-7, 6-7, 7-6 Thiem. And soon it will be winter.
Plenty of scrambling and sliding and grunting as they get under way again with a lengthy rally. Schwartzman has his head in his hands after bashing a backhand into the net. But is mightily relieved when Thiem goes long. 4-4. 5-4 to Schwartzman, after a second successive Thiem error. Two points on Schwartzman’s serve to force a final set … but of course nothing comes easy in this match, and once again they’re back on serve. 5-5. Under immense pressure, Schwartzman brings up set point with his 745th drop shot of the day …
Thiem takes the first point, on his serve, 1-0. Schwartzman holds for 1-1, but nets after a probing return from Thiem. The Argentinian is busy chattering and chuntering to himself about conceding the mini-break, which Thiem backs up for 3-1, before pulling the trigger on his one-handed backhand … and netting! They’re back on serve, with Thiem leading 3-2, and they change ends with nothing to choose between them, 3-3 …
Fancy another tie-break? Sure you do. Schwartzman scrapes through from deuce after another captivating game – some extraordinary tennis is being played at the moment – and if he wins this breaker, a match that already feels as if it has gone the distance, will really be going the distance. Sit tight.
It’s nearly 8pm in Paris, with Iga Swiatek v Martina Trevisan and Jannik Sinner v Rafael Nadal supposedly still to come on Philippe Chatrier after this. It’s been announced there’ll be no more matches on Suzanne Lenglen today, so organisers won’t be moving either of the quarter-finals over there.
And lightning strikes twice, when Thiem produces another superb forehand winner, this time to save a break point at 5-5, 30-40. That’s 12 forehand winners for the set, compared to Schwartzman’s one. And again Thiem charges through the game from there. So Schwartzman, having had three set points at 5-4, must now hold serve at 5-6 to stay in this crazy contest.
That Thiem forehand:
So Diego, what are you made of? The Argentinian moves to 15-0, then a delightful drop shot gets him to 30-0, which is quickly 40-0, three set points. Thiem gets in on the winning drop shot act on the first, Schwartzman hits out on the second, then Thiem somehow lands an absolutely outrageous forehand winner down the line, hitting on the run from beyond the tramlines! The shot of the match so far! That’s woken the crowd up from their hibernation. Remarkable. It’s deuce. And Thiem takes full advantage to break. Cue a rueful Schwartzman smile at the ridiculousness of it all. It’s Schwartzman 7-6, 5-7, 6-7, 5-5 Thiem*.
Having been tight as a drum towards the end of the third set, how will Schwartzman cope here? Pretty well, it seems, when he moves to 0-30 on Thiem’s serve. Two points away from forcing a decider. But then he’s pulled back by Thiem, as he has been throughout this match, 15-30, 30-30, 40-30, game. The story of the match so far in one game. But Schwartzman still has the chance to serve this set out, leading 5-4.
Schwartzman holds to 30 for 4-2. Thiem grabs a rare love hold to cut his deficit to 4-3. Neither player appears to be feeling the nerves at the moment – perhaps that will come if Schwartzman gets closer to winning the set. And the underdog has given himself a chance here, taking another game when Thiem’s effort slides down his own side of the net. It’s 5-3 Schwartzman.
Schwartzman continues his revival, breaking from deuce to take his third game on the spin for 3-2. Day is turning to night, as the skies darken and the floodlights shine brightly on Philippe Chatrier. By the time this match has finished, the Paris autumn will probably have turned to winter. The small bubbles of fans shiver. And the umpire doesn’t look too comfortable either:
Among all the talk of Nadal reaching for a 13th Roland Garros title, which would see him move alongside Roger Federer on 20 majors, and Novak Djokovic attempting to move within one slam of Nadal, we shouldn’t forget Thiem’s French Open record in recent years. Victory today would put him into the semi-finals for the fifth successive year. But he’s still being made to work for the win, as Schwartzman holds for 2-2. That’s seven points on the spin for the Argentinian, who has shown such heart in this match but has blinked in some of the biggest moments.
Nice to see applause from Thiem when Schwartzman is somehow able to react quickly enough to put away the volley despite a tricky net cord. And no sooner than Thiem breaks, he is broken himself when he batters the ball into the tramlines after a rally he completely dominated. Schwartzman calls for a medical timeout and receives treatment to his shoulder and blisters on his fingers, with Thiem leading 6-7, 7-5, 7-6, 2-1.
It’s going downhill for Diego in the fourth set, as Thiem strikes quickly for a 2-0 lead. But here’s one for the Schwartzman showreel from that terrific third set:
If Thiem does come through this match from here, having played five sets in the previous round, you have to wonder what shape he’ll be in for a possible semi-final against Rafa Nadal. Though at this rate, Thiem could get a day’s more rest than Nadal, who may not even make it on to court tonight. His match against Jannik Sinner isn’t due on until after Iga Swiatek v Martina Trevisan, who are currently waiting in the locker room for Thiem and Schwartzman to finish taking lumps out of each other.
Schwartzman shows quick reflexes at the net to reduce his arrears to 5-2, Thiem thinks he’s brought up set point with another rasping forehand but it’s called long. 5-3. Which turns into 5-4. Thiem repels Schwartzman’s fightback with a near-perfect drop shot after a high-quality rally of Thiem attack and Schwartzman defence, and it’s 6-4, two set points. But, of course, there’s nothing straightforward about this set, so Schwartzman drags himself level at 6-6, before blinking on serve to give Thiem another set point. This time Thiem thumps away a smash! The US Open champion leads 6-7, 7-5, 7-6 in a match he could have lost in straight sets. Incroyable.
Thiem, after suffering a near-whitewash in the first-set tie-break (7-1), gets on the board early for a 3-1 lead. Neither player is giving an inch on the next point, before Thiem thwacks a thunderbolt of a forehand winner for 4-1. They change ends at 5-1, this a complete reversal of the first breaker …
So Thiem, who could easily have lost in straight sets today, steps up to serve for a two sets to one advantage. Despite the setbacks of the past two games, Schwartzman is still a bundle of energy on the baseline, chasing everything down, a player in the mold of the now-retired David Ferrrreerrrr. He could run all day. And then some more. And his reward here is a break to 15. Of course this set wasn’t going to end the easy way for Thiem. We’re going to another tie-break …
Thiem has Schwartzman reeling at 0-30, and again at 30-40. Having saved that set point, Thiem has now earned himself a break point that could leave him serving for the third set. He takes it, as champions do. The fine margins in grand slam tennis. Thiem leads 6-7, 7-5, 6-5.
It has to be said that Schwartzman’s nerves got the better of him there, when he ballooned long on set point, just as they did at the end of the second set when he could have gone two sets to love up. The match clock has ticked over three hours.
I think the drama’s got too much for Gregg, as Thiem triumphs at deuce to bring up game point, from set point down. Schwartzman slaps into the net before screaming out in frustration. It’s *Schwartzman 7-6, 5-7, 5-5 Thiem. This. Could. Go. On. And. On.
There have been six breaks of serve in this set. Can Thiem hold his serve? He needs to or he will lose the third set and go 2-1 down. Schwartzman pings a string and Thiem takes a a 15-0 lead. A quick change a racket works wonders for Schwartzman, who shows feather-fingered touch to land a drop-shot and level at 15-15. Thiem tries and fails to lob Schwartzman and is 15-30 down. He battles back to 30-30 after a lame lob is brought back in by the wind. Lucky boy! Schwartzman brings up set point with a volley at the net but goes long on the next point to take the game to deuce. With that I’ll hand back to Katy.
Schwartzman has the chance to serve for the set. Thiem goes into defensive mode and forces two errors out of the Argentinian, one of which flies out of the picture on my TV to who knows where? His next point is not much better. It’s 0-40 … and very soon Thiem breaks him without really having to play a shot of note. Will somebody just get on top? We’re back on serve. It’s Schwartzman 7-6, 5-7, 5-4 Thiem.
Schwartzman breaks again! Thiem reverts to playing sliced backhands in the wind … which really don’t work. It’s Schwartzman 7-6, 5-7, 5-3 Thiem.
It’s really not the weather for tennis is it? The few spectators are wrapped up like they’re at a football match in December. Schwartzman shows battling qualities in this game after a wobble in the wind on his serve. Thiem smells blood at 15-30 but Schwartzman digs in and battles back to 40-30 before outlasting his opponent in a back-court rally, with Thiem slicing a weak backhand long. Schwartzman 7-6, 5-7, 4-3 Thiem.
Thiem needs a comfortable service game … and he gets one, coming into the net twice to fire home winners and gratefully watching two overhit forehands from Schwartzman waft their way through the wind and out behind him. He holds to love. Schwartzman 7-6, 5-7, 3-3 Thiem.
Thiem finds some resistance and fights his way to 15-40. Schwartzman could play it safe after a draining rally but instead plays an insouciant drop-shot that Thiem can’t reach. One break saved. But not the second. It’s another break. This is draining to watch! Schwartzman 7-6, 5-7, 3-2 Thiem.
Thiem really needs a solid service game but he’s grumbling to himself about the wind in next to no time and 15-30 down. He fires long after an epic 27-shot rally and he looks like a spent force. It’s 15-40. The irrepressible Schwartzman finds another winner and takes a clear lead in the third set after breaking Thiem again. It’s Schwartzman 7-6, 5-7, 3-1 Thiem.
That rarest of things in this match. A hold to love on serve! It’s Thiem 1-2 Schwartzman in the third set.
Thiem should really apply the pressure now but he finds himself 0-30 down in no time. An unforced error from Schwartzman brings Thiem back into the game at 15-30 but Schwartzman takes a risk and hammers a deep forehand to the line that Thiem can only lob up over his opponent and out. His shoulders slump and he wafts a weak forehand into the net on the very next point. Scharwartzman breaks back. Thiem 1-1 Schwartzman in the third set.
Thanks Katy. I’ve barely started typing and Schwartzman has been broken in the very first game of the third set. To lose that second set after putting such effort into it must have been particularly energy-sapping. Thiem races into the net at 30-40 and fires a volley down towards the corner that Schwartzman can only bat into the sparse crowd. It’s Thiem 1-0 Schwartzman in the third set.
With that, I’m going to take a break and hand you over to Gregg Bakowski …
Schwartzman, having played perhaps his worst game of the match, gets to 15-30 on Thiem’s serve with a shot that has such wicked side-spin it leaves Thiem tumbling into the chair. Thiem dusts himself down and levels at 30-all, before moving to set point when Schwartzman misses. At 40-30, Schwartzman’s effort slumps into the net and that’s the set. It’s Schwartzman 7-6, 5-7 Thiem after nearly two and a quarter hours of play. It’s now down to best-of-three. And there are still two more quarter-finals to come after this. It could be a late night in Paris …
A disappointing dip from Schwartzman, given everything he’s done to get back into this second set, and it’s 15-40. Perhaps he’s still thinking about that horrible error at 15-30 in the previous game. He could be two sets up. Instead Schwartzman’s shot sails long and he hands the break to Thiem, who will now serve at 6-5 to level this match at one set all.