Marin Cilic entered Day 5 of the 2017 US Open as the lone remaining giant in the bottom half of the men’s draw, the only man of the 16 remaining who had ever reached a Grand Slam final. But in the Grandstand on that first Friday, the 2014 US Open champion and 2017 Wimbledon runner-up was brought down by Diego Schwartzman in a riveting four-setter, 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-4.
The 5-foot-7 Schwartzman had flown under the radar for much of the year, quietly ascending into seeded territory behind a return game that ranked as the best in the sport (breaking on 35 percent of his opponent’s service games to that point on the season, better than even perennial top returners Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic).
In this match, he generated 20 break-point chances against the booming delivery of the 6-6 Cilic, converting an impressive nine of those opportunities. With that, the Argentine advanced to the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time, a run he would prolong into the quarterfinals, where he finally ran out of steam against Pablo Carreno Busta.