Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman (pictured left) upset the number five-seeded and 2014 U.S. Open champion, Marin Cilic of Croatia, on Friday in Flushing Meadows, nailing down an unexpected 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-4 victory inside Grandstand.
Schwartzman, who is listed at just 5’6”, stood tall in front of a predominantly pro-Cilic crowd, setting up 20 break points on the big serve of Cilic, converting on nine of them, while saving 14 break points of his own to pull off the upset.
The biggest of those break points came in the match’s final game as Schwartzman was serving for the match for a second time. The Argentine stayed composed to save multiple break points, closing things out with a huge forehand winner out of the long reach of Cilic (pictured below).
“In the final game of the match, I think I started to be a little bit nervous,” Schwartzman admitted afterwards. “When I served 5-2, I think he played much better than me. I didn’t make many mistakes. But then at 5-4, it was just one break and then it starts the nerves in my body and it was really tough that last game. But I win and I am really happy.”
The 25-year-old Schwartzman is now into the fourth round of a major for the first time in his career, and his victory expands open an already diluted bottom half of the men’s singles draw.
“Sometimes if you get lucky in the draw and you can take the chances. It’s always good for the new guys or for the guys who are out of the Top 10,” Schwartzman said of the wide-open draw. “I think many players are doing well this week, and they are taking the opportunities because others are injured. Many players are injured this week. I think we are trying to take the chances and try to go forward in the tournament.”
Awaiting him in the next round is the 16th-seeded Frenchman Lucas Pouille, a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 winner Friday afternoon over Kazahkstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin.
Canadian teen Denis Shapovalov continued his run in Flushing Meadows, advancing past Kyle Edmund of Great Britain. Shapovalov held a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 1-0 lead before Edmund was forced to retire.
Shapovalov will meet the 12th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta (pictured below) next, as the Spaniard moved past Nicolas Mahut 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 on Friday.
Seth Sarelson is a contributing writer to Long Island Tennis Magazine. An avid tennis player since his grandmother bought him his first tennis racket at the age of 7, Seth grew up on Long Island and trained under Keith Kambourian at Bethpage State Park Tennis Center. He pursued this passion, playing USTA tournaments on Long Island and in the Eastern Region as a junior. A graduate of Cornell University, Seth has coached hundreds of students, run camps and continues to be an avid tennis enthusiast.