It looked like he might make the same mistake again when he served for the fourth set at 5-4 and was broken once more. But he smiled through the pain and recovered to win the fourth-set tiebreaker after Thiem was two points from winning the match with a 5-4 lead.
He then broke Thiem’s serve twice in the fifth set to finish off the tennis marathon.
There will be no U.S. Open-French Open double in singles in this unique season. Thiem, a finalist at the French Open the last two years, tried to recover from his breakthrough victory in New York by taking two weeks off before playing at Roland Garros.
But he was pushed to five sets in the fourth round by French wild-card entry Hugo Gaston and was pushed even harder on Sunday by Schwartzman in the cool, heavy conditions that made clean winners a challenge.
“To be honest, I was over the limit today,” said Thiem. “Maybe I would have recovered. Even though I’m physically and mentally on the edge, you never know in a Slam, especially with Wednesday and Thursday off, two full days to recover. You never know what’s happening. But at 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.”
It was a remarkable day for Argentine tennis. Earlier Tuesday, Nadia Podoroska became the first qualifier to reach the women’s singles semifinals at the French Open in the Open era. Podoroska, ranked 131st and playing for the first time in the main draw at Roland Garros, upset No. 3 seed Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-4.
It was also Podoroska’s first singles match against a top 20 opponent, but however improbable on paper, the result looked quite logical as the match unfolded on clay. Podoroska dictated play with her heavy topspin forehand, changed pace effectively with drop shot winners and converted eight of 13 break points on Svitolina’s shaky serve.
“What I improved most, I think, was my mentality,” Podoroska said of her unexpected run at Roland Garros.