Nadal advanced to Friday’s semifinals, his eighth US Open final four.
Diego Schwartzman’s storied US Open run came to an end in the early hours of Thursday morning in three hard-fought sets against Rafael Nadal, with a final result of 6-4, 7-5, 6-2
The Spaniard had beaten Schwartzman all seven times they’ve played, including a straight-set win in the third round of the 2015 US Open. Schwartzman had won only two sets in the previous 17 against Nadal. The 27-year-old Argentine Jew, who beat Alexander Zverev to advance to the quarterfinals, was the only player to win a set off Nadal at the 2018 French Open, when Nadal went on to win his 11th Rolland Garros title.
While Nadal took Thursday’s match in straight sets, the match was not easy for the second seed. In the first two sets, Nadal raced to double-break leads. However, a number of misfires by the 33-year-old Spaniard allowed Schwartzman to get back into each set.
The momentum appeared to shift for Schwartzman in the seventh game of the second set. Down 5-1, Schwartzman broke Nadal twice to tie the score at five apiece. Prior to the match, Nadal’s serve had only been broken twice at Flushing medals; Schwartzman broke Nadal four times.
Following a difficult passing winner, the crowd stood and cheered, calling out Schwartzman’s name. Schwartzman repeatedly pumped his fists toward the packed, Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd and, inspired by the fans’ enthusiasm, continued to fight.
“It crazy,” said Schwartzman. “It’s nice when it’s happening on court, the big points and when you win the big points. I took a lot of confidence after that point.”
Nadal held serve to go up 6-5 as the match clock topped two hours. Schwartzman served and saved three match points before going down 7-5.
The players stayed on serve in the third set before Nadal broke Schwartzman in game six to go up 4-2. While the match appeared to be winding down, Nadal showed signs of wear and tear, receiving treatment from the trainer on his left forearm.
Nadal mustered strength and came out fighting, winning nine of 10 points in games five through seven. At 30-30 in the third set’s eighth game, Schwartzman hit long before hitting the final shot of the match into the net.
The old friends embraced at the net. The crowd cheered the hard-working Schwartzman who stayed on court to sign autographs for late-night fans.
In the 1 a.m. media session, Schwartzman was asked to describe Nadal’s tenacity.
“He is like a lion in the middle, you know, in the jungle. He’s a fighter. He knows how to play the important moments every single time. I have played him eight times, and every important moment he played better than me!”
Nadal advanced to Friday’s semifinals, his eighth US Open final four, against 24th-seeded Italian Matteo Berrettini of Italy. The big-hitting Berrettini outlasted No. 13 Gael Monfils of France 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(5) in Wednesday’s thrilling five-setter.
The other men’s semi features No. 5 Daniil Medvedev vs Grigor Dimitrov, while on the women’s side, Serena Williams faces Elina Svitolina and Belinda Bencic takes on Bianca Andreescu.