For Diego Schwartzman it was 10 years in the making but the 12th seed from Argentina is finally into his first grand slam semi-final.
Schwartzman defeated US Open champion and third seed Dominic Thiem in a five-hour epic to reach the last four at Roland Garros.
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The 28-year-old Schwartzman triumphed 7-6 (7/1), 5-7, 6-7 (6/8), 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 and will face either 12-time champion Rafael Nadal or Italian teenager Jannik Sinner for a place in the final.
It was one marathon too many for Thiem, the runner-up in Paris for the last two years, who had needed five sets and three and a half hours to down world number 239 Hugo Gaston in the fourth round.
The 5ft 7in (1.70m) Schwartzman's success came on the same day that compatriot Nadia Podoroska, the World No.131, reached the last-four of the women's singles.
"Dominic is one of the great players. He is my best friend and I have a lot of respect for him," said Schwartzman.
"So this win is very important for me. In the second and third sets, I was going a little crazy and I was screaming at myself because I had so many chances.
"But, come on, I deserved to win tonight," added Schwartzman who defeated Nadal in the Rome quarter-finals on the eve of the French Open.
The extraordinary quality of tennis that both Schwartzman and Thiem displayed had tennis fans beside themselves on social media.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) October 6, 2020
Schwartzman vs Thiem is one of the best tennis matches I have ever watched. Extraordinary talent and perseverance from both players. It'll come down to who wants it more #RolandGarros
— Saif (@saifuzivert) October 6, 2020
Unbelievable tennis from Schwartzman. What a win.
— Ayesha 🇵🇰 (@ayeshyy_) October 6, 2020
Delighted for him. Hope he maintains same form (probably gonna need more) against Nadal.
— Man Dee (@Diccoooo) October 6, 2020
Well deserved and well played by both sides. Incredible match, we love you @dieschwartzman
— Diego Schwartzman Fan Page (@FanSchwartzman) October 6, 2020
So happy for Schwartzman, super deserved first slam semi.
Not a bad defeat at all for Thiem after his heroics in New York. Was always going to be a crazy ask to back up his first slam title (on hard no less) with a deep run on clay a couple of weeks later.
— Matthew Willis (@MattRacquet) October 6, 2020
That took EVERYTHING 🙌
Diego Schwartzman reaches his first Grand Slam semi-final and defeats a Top 5 player for the first time in a major.
d. Thiem 7-6(1), 5-7, 6-7(6) 7-6(5) 6-2 in 5:08 pic.twitter.com/u03pXgr09X
— TennisNow (@Tennis_Now) October 6, 2020
Schwartzman comes through rollercoaster clash
Thiem had been attempting to reach a fifth successive semi-final in Paris.
However, despite crunching 65 winners to his opponent's 47, he committed 81 unforced errors in a match which featured 19 breaks of serve and at five hours and eight minutes was the second longest of the tournament.
Schwartzman recovered from a break down in the 65-minute first set to sweep through the tiebreaker.
But Thiem kept hammering away forcing the Argentine to save seven break points in the ninth game of the second.
The Austrian broke through for a 6-5 edge before wrapping up a 71-minute set.
In a tie of dramatically fluctuating rallies, eight breaks of serve punctuated the third set.
Schwartzman even had a set point but couldn't convert and Thiem pounced in the breaker to sneak ahead.
The Argentine blinked again in the 10th game of the fourth as three more set points went begging, but he clung on, snatching the breaker after a 73-minute set.
By this stage, they had been on court for over four and a half hours.
However, a weary Thiem was broken in the sixth and final game of the decider as Schwartzman celebrated becoming the 10th Argentinian man to make the semi-finals of a major.
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