In the battle of the doubles partners who are doing a great job in Buenos Aires this week, the 4th seed and home favorite Diego Schwartzman saved a match point to topple the top seed Dominic Thiem 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 in two hours and 31 minutes for the fifth ATP final.
Carried by the partisan crowd, the Argentinian gave his 120% to become the first player who managed to defeat Dominic Thiem at this event after 11 straight wins for the Austrian, erasing that match point on serve at 5-6 in the decider before prevailing in the tie break for one of his best wins ever.
It was an entertaining battle between two of the finest clay-courters in the world, pushing each other to the limits and gifting the spectators one of the best matches of the tournament. Both served at 75% and despite that there were 18 break points up for grabs, with seven successful return games for Dominic and six for Diego who won ten points fewer than the Austrian but still found the way to emerge at the top and get a chance to play for the third ATP title, the first at home.
The Roland Garros finalist did everything right in the opening set, scoring three straight breaks in dominant style and clinching it 6-2 after a double fault from the Argentinian. Schwartzman served under 50% in the opener and he was easy prey for Thiem's sharp returns that left him unarmed, improving that in set number two to stay competitive and seek his chances, unwilling to surrender without a proper fight.
From 2-1 up, he lost three consecutive games to trail 4-2, breaking back in the following game to erase the deficit and gain the momentum, securing another break in game nine thanks to a loose drop shot from Thiem. Serving for the set, Diego held at 30 when Dominic netted a forehand and drama was on, starting the decider where everything was possible.
The Austrian recovered after many errors he sprayed in the second part of the second set, breaking in the third game to open a healthy 4-1 lead with a backhand down the line winner that pushed him closer to the finish line.
Schwartzman pulled the break back in game seven when his rival netted an easy forehand and was a game away from victory when Dominic sprayed another forehand error in game nine to drop serve again. Keeping his coolness, Thiem broke back in the very last moment and he created a match point on the return at 6-5, denied by a forehand winner from Schwartzman who was now ready to leave everything on the court and prevail the deciding tie break.
There, we saw 11 straight points that went with serve, which is extremely rare at such close moments in the matches on clay, with Diego earning the crucial mini-break at 6-5 following a forehand error from Dominic to cross the finish line and celebrate a massive win with the partisan crowd.
Diego will play for the title against the 3rd seed Marco Cecchinato who ousted Cordoba finalist Guido Pella 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and nine minutes. Cecchinato defeated Pella in the final of Umag last year and he was even better today, dropping 15 points in nine service games and never facing a break point.
The pressure was on Pella all the time and he couldn't defend the second serve in a proper way, facing four break points and suffering three breaks to end his run in the semis. Nothing could separate them in the opening nine games before Marco earned a break at 15 at 5-4 to clinch the opening set and gain the momentum before the rest of the clash.
A left-hander couldn't match the rival's pace in set number two, losing serve twice and sending the Italian over the finish line after a terrible forehand in game eight, missing a chance to set an all-Argentinian final in their capital.