Battling Argentine Schwartzman recovers to knock out Anderson

Diego Schwartzman switched gears in the tiebreak at the end of a tight fourth set to level the contest at two sets apiece as a tiring Kevin Anderson failed to earn a point.

Argentina's Diego Schwartzman celebrates after victory over South Africa's Kevin Anderson during their men's singles fourth round match on day nine of The Roland Garros 2018 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on 4 June 2018. Picture: AFP.

PARIS - Argentine Diego Schwartzman produced a remarkable fightback from two sets and a break down to beat South African Kevin Anderson 1-6 2-6 7-5 7-6(0) 6-2 and reach the French Open quarter-finals for the first time on Monday.

Having gone two sets up with big hitting from the baseline, towering sixth seed Anderson threw Schwartzman a lifeline while serving for the match at 5-4 and his booming serve faltered again at 5-6 as the Argentine took the third set.

The 25-year-old Schwartzman, who won the Rio Open claycourt title earlier this year, switched gears in the tiebreak at the end of a tight fourth set to level the contest at two sets apiece as a tiring Anderson failed to earn a point.

With momentum having swung his way, Schwartzman secured the decisive breaks in the final set and sealed a memorable victory over the US Open finalist with an ace after a contest lasting three hours and 51 minutes.

“He was very aggressive. One way or the other he started lining up points and it was different from what I had imagined because he’s more of an aggressive player,” Schwartzman said.

“In the third set, I tried on a crossover backhand to play better. And from then on he started getting a bit tired and he wasn’t as accurate, unlike in the first two sets.

“I tried to take advantage of an opportunity. I was lucky because I took advantage of two of his mistakes when he was serving for the match.”

Schwartzman, who became only the eighth Argentine to reach multiple Grand Slam quarter-finals in the Open Era, next faces top seed Rafa Nadal who beat Maximilian Marterer. He trails Nadal 5-0 in their previous meetings.

“Always I believe I can do (it). If not, I’m not playing tennis,” Schwartzman added. “But Rafa here, I know it’s his second home, and it’s going to be a really tough match.

“I need to recover well because against him I need to run a lot and do my best. I need to be ready for the next match and do my best,” he added.