Diego Schwartzman threw absolutely everything he could at Rafael Nadal but it still wasn’t enough as the Spaniard reached the French Open semi-finals for the 14th time in his illustrious career.
Nadal and Schwartzman served up an absolute treat on Wednesday afternoon in their hotly-anticipated quarter-final clash at Roland Garros and the Argentine held his own for much of it.
But with the match in the balance midway through the third set, the 13-time champion at Roland Garros stepped up his intensity to a remarkable level to pull away and win through.
There were any number of remarkable points as the pair traded stunning efforts from the back of the court, but for all Schwartzman’s efforts, Nadal always seemed to have another gear and he demonstrated this very clearly in the fourth set.
Among the many incredible points played out between the pair, one shot from the Spaniard literally left his opponent scratching his head.
Schwartzman looked convinced that he had won the point at 3-3 40-15 in the second set, having lost the opener, with a blazing forehand down the line that surely would have beaten most players.
But Nadal not only managed to get it back in play with a reflex sliding backhand that sliced its way over the net but he left Schwartzman unable to make a counter effort.
It was so ridiculous that the Argentine was literally left scratching his head mid-court in disbelief that he had not closed out the game with what felt like a winner down the line.
Schwartzman was very much in the contest until midway through the fourth set when Nadal simply stamped his authority on proceedings and found a level his opponent could not live with.
A huge contest with world number one Novak Djokovic is potentially on the cards for the semi-finals with Nadal having sealed his progression.
A Nadal v Djokovic clash in the last four would be an encounter fans would love and it would be a repeat from last year’s final in the postponed autumnal edition.
In the quarter-finals, Djokovic will next take on ninth seed Matteo Berrettini, after the Italian was handed a walkover due to Roger Federer withdrawing from the tournament.
The three most successful players in the history of the men’s game have won 17 of the last 20 Grand Slam titles between them.