By Bayo Onanuga
Rafael Nadal will meet Argentine Diego Schwartzman in the semi-final of the French Open on 9 October, in what promises to be a grudge match for world number 2.
Schwartzman beat Nadal on 19 September in the quarter-finals of the Italian Open enroute the finals, where he was beaten by Novak Djokovic for the title.
Now the two will meet again in Roland Garros on Friday.
Schwartzman, the 12th seed in Paris, outlasted US Open Champion, Dominic Thiem in five thrilling sets to reach the semi-final.
He prevailed 7-6(1) 5-7 6-7(6) 7-6(5) 6-2 on court Philippe Chatrier, in a match that lasted over five hours.
In contrast Nadal blew away Italian Jannik Sinner in three sets 7-6 6-4 61.
For Thiem, the loss to the Argentine, broke his 11 match winning streak at majors, following his maiden US Open victory last month.
The match also prevented him from making his third successive final in the Roland Garros tournament.
The diminutive Schwartzman proved a formidable obstacle to Thiem, a mountain too big to climb.
“I was over the limit today,” Thiem said after the energy sapping match.
And he was right as he had already come through a draining five-set encounter to knock out French wildcard Hugo Gaston in the previous round.
“In the end I gave everything I had out there. It was an amazing match. I think the first in my career over five hours. Diego fully deserves it.”
Thiem said his tank was empty in the decider.
“I think if I would have wanted to win that match, I should have done it in four. In the fifth set, he was just a little bit more fresh and better than me,” said Thiem, who said the pain of defeat was lessened by seeing a friend advance into the last four.
“I’m happy for him. Maybe to lose against a friend hurts a little bit less, yeah,” he said.