Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman stunned 2014 champion and number 5 seed Marin Cilic 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-4 to reach the round of the 16 of the US Open for the first time in his career.
The 1.7-meter (5-foot-7) Argentine did his best on Friday to prove size doesn’t matter against the 1.98-meter Croatian and managed to do so for one day at least on the hard courts at Flushing Meadows, Efe news reported.
Schwartzman played far from a perfect match, committing 48 unforced errors and nearly squandering a double-break lead in the fourth set, but he hung on to win in three hours and 23 minutes.
The key to the match was the Argentine’s ability to use his elite return game to put pressure on the service games of Cilic, who was broken an abnormally high nine times throughout the contest.
Although Schwartzman lost his own serve seven times – including three times in the third set, which featured a whopping seven service breaks in 12 games – he was able to squeak through in the end.
The number 29 seed appeared to have the match wrapped up when he led 5-2 with two service breaks in hand in the fourth set, but he lost his serve once and then faced two break points in his ensuing service game before clinching victory with a forehand winner.
For the match, Cilic fired 14 aces but also committed nine double faults and 80 unforced errors.
The speedy Schwartzman, meanwhile, showcased some power by hitting 30 winners, just 14 fewer than his opponent.
“Sometimes if you have luck in the draw and you can take the chances, it’s always good for the new guys or for the guys who are outside the top 10,” Schwartzman was quoted as saying on the ATP World Tour’s Web site.
“I think many players are doing well this week, and they are taking the opportunities because many players are injured this week.