Schwartzman wins one for the little guys

Helene Elliott, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Tennis

NEW YORK -- At 5 feet 7, Diego Schwartzman of Argentina is often much shorter than his opponent. He slayed a giant on Friday when he upset 6-foot-6 Marin Cilic, the No. 5 seed at the U.S. Open, 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-4 in a third-round match on the grandstand court. Cilic was the 2014 Open champion but had been slowed by an adductor injury. His defeat leaves the bottom of the draw unusually open.

Schwartzman, the No. 29 seed, enjoys being an inspiration for athletes of small stature. "I hope maybe they can understand tennis is for everyone. Is not just for the tall guys," he said.

A showdown between up-and-comers Denis Shapovalov of Canada and Kyle Edmund of Great Britain fizzled when Edmund's back locked up and he retired, giving Shapovalov a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 1-0 victory. Shapovalov, 18, is the youngest man to reach the fourth round here since 17-year-old Michael Chang in 1989. Shapovalov, who played three qualifying matches to reach the main draw, will next face No. 12 Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain.

No. 10 John Isner needed treatment for a stiff neck during a 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (5) loss to No. 23 Mischa Zverev of Germany, who earned a spot in the fourth round against Sam Querrey of Santa Monica. Querrey hit 19 aces in overpowering Radu Albot of Moldova 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-4.

"The bottom half of the draw has opened up. There's no way to not see that," said Querrey, a Wimbledon semifinalist this year. "There's a chance for everyone there."

Stephens Shines

Sloane Stephens continued a strong comeback from foot surgery and an 11-month absence with a 6-2, 6-4 third-round victory over Australian Ashleigh Barty. Stephens said her time away gave her a healthier perspective on life. "Now I'm kind of, like, I do this for fun. I love tennis," the Floridian said. "I think I have it pretty good."

Maria Sharapova had to work hard against 18-year-old fellow wild-card entrant Sofia Kenin but emerged with a 7-5, 6-2 third-round win at chilly Arthur Ashe Stadium. Kenin, who was born in Russia but grew up in the U.S., hung in tough against her idol. "She came out and had nothing to lose today and that's always dangerous," Sharapova said. "I'm happy I got through."

Also, Venus Williams defeated Maria Sakkari of Greece, 6-3, 6-4. Williams, 37, has reached the fourth round or better in seven straight Grand Slams. She'll face Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, who beat Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

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