In both draws, there will be Argentinian players seeking a shock win against more decorated opponents. Diego Schwartzman joins Nadia Podoroska in taking on a third seed for a spot in the semi-finals. Schwartzman should have a much better chance against Dominic Thiem although it will still be a tough ask to beat the two-time consecutive finalist.
Schwartzman has a good claim to being considered the ‘best of the rest’ on clay on the tour, with some good results on the surface at the higher levels. He has a touch of David Ferrer about him, making the most of his talents and not held back by his undersized nature. Schwartzman has cruised through a weak opening four rounds, not dropping a set across them.
Thiem had been doing the same through three rounds but was caught out by Hugo Gaston in the fourth round. The Frenchman dazzled on the big stage with his countless drop shots making life hard for much of Thiem’s 5 set win. It was a decider settled by a single break for Thiem, somewhat fittingly handed over by failed drop shot. “I couldn’t find the right answer to [the drop shots],” Thiem said. “In the fifth set I found some new energy. I think I was playing very good again, but it was a great fight until the end and I’m very lucky I made it through today.”
It will be a more conventional clay court match between these two, something that should suit Thiem a lot more. The Austrian looks a near certainty to win a French Open at some point in his career but rather than waiting for the retirements of Nadal and Djokovic, he could well win one where he beats one or both. Thiem is not taking things for granted against Schwartzman though. “Against Diego there will be some long rallies,” Thiem said. “He likes these conditions; it’s a little slower and not so high bounce. It will be very difficult.”
Prediction – Dominic Thiem in four sets