Diego Schwartzman


Chris O’Connell Has Taken Down World No.13 Diego Schwartzman At Melbourne Park

A massive win on day four at the Australian Open as put this Aussie on course for a bumper payday.

Chris O’Connell must be sick of people referencing him cleaning boats to pay the bills a few years back – but he’ll gladly retell it now.

Just don’t expect him back there anytime soon.

The boy from Sydney’s northern beaches is marching into the third round at the Australian Open and $221,000 richer after dispatching world No.13 Diego Schwartzman 7-6(8-6) 6-4 6-4.

Schwartzman’s scalp is the best of O’Connell’s career to date, topping his victories over then-23rd-ranked Jannik Sinner in July and top-40 German Jan-Lennard Struff at last year’s Open.

The Australian wildcard, 27, has been riddled with injuries since he was a teenager, then had his momentum stalled by the Covid-19 pandemic as he was on the verge of the top 100.

But O’Connell – despite admitting a couple of years ago to panicking about his career flying by without a breakthrough – has never given up.

This week’s breakthrough owes to his extraordinary resilience, with ankle and groin injuries last year just the latest hurdles before he was also diagnosed with Covid diagnosis last year.

In between those setbacks, O’Connell continued to show why good judges believe he will be Australia’s next top-100 player.

Schwartzman won’t take any convincing after what he witnessed firsthand on a boisterous court three on Thursday.

O’Connell expected the diminutive Argentine star to “make a million balls” after he booked the clash with a four-set first-round victory over Frenchman Hugo Gaston.

That’s exactly what he got in a titanic opening set with several swings and roundabouts that lasted one hour and 24 minutes after Schwartzman failed to serve it out in the 10th game.

O’Connell’s laid-back nature off the court is mirrored on it, where his admirable ability to absorb the repeated pressure situations he found himself in was a significant factor in the result.

Knowing Schwartzman’s staying power, the Sydneysider was determined from the outset to play aggressively and try and push his former top-10 opponent around.

More costly than anything else for Schwartzman was his double fault to concede a four-deuce game at 5-4 in the first set, after he blew three set points.

O’Connell survived two more break points in the next game, then fell behind 1-3 in the tie-break but kept bouncing back every time, before flashing a brilliant forehand winner to go a set up.

It’s unlikely he would have known about Schwartzman’s grand slam record but his confidence would have soared at that point if he did.

Schwartzman had won only seven of his previous 27 matches at this level after losing the opening set – and that statistic was even worse once O’Connell was finished with him.

The Aussie comparatively raced through the second set and was soon a break up in the third before a minor stumble.

Any potential opening for Schwartzman was soon closed as O’Connell broke him for a fourth time then completed the job on serve.

Read related topics:Melbourne

Men's Wrap: De Minaur, Rublev Advance, Schwartzman Stunned

Australian No.1 Alex de Minaur and Russian top-10 star Andrey Rublev charged into the third round of the Australian Open on a day where the big names were anything but safe at Melbourne Park.

Rublev and De Minaur restored some order to the Thursday schedule, as did No.20 seed Taylor Fritz, a straight-sets winner over fellow American Frances Tiafoe.

MORE: All the scores from Day 4 at AO 2022

But 13th seed Diego Schwartzman was stunned by Australian wildcard Chris O'Connell, while former world No.3 Grigor Dimitrov fell to French nemesis Benoit Paire.

Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime survived a four-hour, 19-minute struggle, amid 83 unforced errors, to eventually get past Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

De Minaur made his return to Rod Laver Arena after a three-year absence and scored his first ever victory on the tournament's premier court.

MORE: Live scores from AO22

He beat Poland's Kamil Majchrzak 6-4 6-4 6-2 and has now won six consecutive sets at AO 2022 after dropping the first in his opening-round win over Lorenzo Musetti.

De Minaur, the No.32 seed, next plays unseeded Spanish veteran Pablo Andujar for a spot in the last 16 for the first time.

A solid win for De Minaur

"For me to be able to play on that court (Rod Laver Arena) and at this stage be on my own merits, it's not because I'm playing one of the top guys, that's a pretty cool feeling," De Minaur said. "A very solid win. Came out, did everything I needed to do. Got the job done. Very happy with my effort."

Earlier, Rublev trounced Ricardas Berankis 6-4 6-2 6-0 in the first match of the day at KIA Arena, at the same time fellow big names Garbine Muguruza and Anett Kontaveit were being upstaged on nearby stadiums.

MORE: Women's singles results AO 2022

The world No.6 belted almost twice as any winners as Berankis (35-18) while committing 17 less unforced errors in an assured performance to maintain his unbeaten start to the season. 

He was forced to skip the ATP Cup earlier this month as he recovered from a bout of COVID, and will undergo a real test of his level when he comes up against former US Open champion Marin Cilic in the third round.

Cilic was a four-set winner over Slovakian qualifier Norbert Gombos.

Auger-Aliassime took a step closer to a potential fourth-round meeting with Rublev after finally seeing off the 50th-ranked Davidovich Fokina in four tiebreaks.

The No.9 seed needed four set points to finish off the third set, and recovered from a break down in the fourth, before eventually cementing victory with a lunging forehand volley winner.

"Definitely getting plenty of tennis so far this week," said the 21-year-old, who needed five sets to beat Emil Ruusuvuori in round one.

"Crazy match it was. I mean, credits to Alejandro. I know him from juniors way back and he's a great guy, tough opponent. He showed up with a great level today.

"(I’m) just happy that it fell on my side. (It’s a great result) when you play four tiebreaks in a row and I was able to win three out of four."

Standing between Auger-Aliassime and a spot in the second week is Brit Dan Evans, who advanced when Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech withdrew ahead of their match with a wrist injury.

At around the same time Auger-Aliassime prevailed, Paire completed an upset victory over 26th seed Dimitrov.

The 32-year-old, a former top-20 player now ranked No.56, won 6-4 6-4 6-7(4) 7-6(2) – his fourth victory in five meetings over the Bulgarian.

Paire has not ventured this deep at a Slam since reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2019, and next faces No.4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas for a chance to match that result.

Fritz, meanwhile, notched a 6-4 6-3 7-6(5) win over Tiafoe, who received a visit from the trainer to work on his right shoulder.

Fritz also had physical issues, but they came at the last minute – he smacked a backhand winner down the line to seal match point and fell to the court as his right calf cramped.

"Frances is one of my really good friends, and he's such a good guy. I said before the tournament too, he's probably one of the most, if not the most dangerous unseeded player in the draw," said Fritz, who meets No.15 seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round.

"I just wanna keep playing my game, keep playing aggressive, like that last point... I've got a really tough match next round, but it would be awesome to have a deep run here."

Schwartzman's loss was somewhat perplexing, given the Argentine had won three of his four matches so far in 2022 and looked solid in a straight-sets first-round outing against dangerous world No.36 Filip Krajinovic.

"Not many positive things about the match. It was a difficult match for me, and I think he did great on court, and he deserved the win. But I didn't do a very good match," Schwartzman rued.

But it was a magnificent day for the 175th-ranked O'Connell, who advanced to the third round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in his career.

There awaits Maxime Cressy, the American captivating fans with his throwback serve-and-volley style and who eliminated Czech qualifier Tomas Machac in four.

What dreams are made of: O'Connell is through to the third round

Also advancing the third round was Dutchman Botic Van De Zandschulp, after opponent Richard Gasquet retired in the third set of their clash.

Van De Zandschulp, a US Open quarterfinalist last year, next faces second seed Daniil Medvedev – the man who ended his compelling run in New York.

In the final men's match played on Thursday, Italian Jannik Sinner extended his head-to-head record over American Steve Johnson to a perfect 3-0 with a methodical 6-2 6-4 6-3 victory. 

Sinner, the 11th seed at AO 2022, meets Taro Daniel in the third round, after the Japanese qualifier took down five-time Australian Open runner-up Andy Murray in straight sets. 

Australian Open 2022: Andy Murray Loss, Daniil Medvedev Win Highlight Day 4 Results

The path for Ashleigh Barty to win her first Australian Open just got a whole lot easier.

Third-seeded Garbine Muguruza, sixth-seeded Anett Kontaveit and defending U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu were all eliminated in Thursday's second-round action as part of an upset-filled day in the women's bracket.

The men's side was far less eventful, with 13th-seeded Diego Schwartzman being the top player to go down and five-time Australian Open finalist Andy Murray seeing his attempt at winning the elusive major in Melbourne end. Second-seeded Daniil Medvedev, fourth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas and fifth-seeded Andrey Rublev were all victorious in relatively short order. 

2022 Australian Open Day 4 Results

Men's Bracket

(2) Daniil Medvedev def. Nick Kyrgios 7-6 (1), 6-4, 4-6, 6-2(4) Stefanos Tsitsipas def. Sebastian Baez 7-6 (1), 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4(5) Andrey Rublev def. Ricardas Berankis 6-4, 6-2, 6-0(9) Felix Auger-Aliassime def. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-6 (4), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4)(11) Jannik Sinner def. Steve Johnson 6-2, 6-4, 6-3Christopher O'Connell def. (13) Diego Schwartzman 7-6 (6), 6-4, 6-4(15) Roberto Bautista Agut def. Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-1, 6-0, 6-3(20) Taylor Fritz def. Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (5)Benoit Paire def. (26) Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (2)(27) Marin Cilic def. Norbert Gombos 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (6) (32) Alex de Minaur def. Kamil Majchrzak 6-4, 6-4, 6-2

Women's Bracket

(2) Aryna Sabalenka def. Wang Xinyu 1-6, 6-4, 6-2Alize Cornet def. (3) Garbine Muguruza 6-3, 6-3Clara Tauson def. (6) Anett Kontaveit 6-2, 6-4(7) Iga Swiatek def. Rebecca Peterson 6-2, 6-2(10) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova def. Samantha Stosur 6-2, 6-2Zhang Shuai def. (12) Elena Rybakina 6-4, 1-0 (walkover)(14) Simona Halep def. Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-2, 6-0Danka Kovinic def. (17) Emma Raducanu 6-4, 4-6, 6-3(19) Elise Mertens def. Irina-Camelia Begu 6-3, 6-2(25) Daria Kasatkina def. Magda Linette 6-2, 6-3(27) Danielle Collins def. Ana Konjuh 6-4, 6-3(31) Marketa Vondrousova def. Liudmila Samsonova 6-2, 7-5

Muguruza, a 2020 finalist in Melbourne, lost to veteran Alize Cornet in straight sets. The Spaniard did not force a single break point, while Cornet converted on three of her 12 chances in a dominant 6-3, 6-3 win. Cornet had not advanced past the second round in Australia since 2018, and she'll be looking to match her best effort in the event with a win in Round 3.

"I don't know how many years I have left," Cornet said after the match. "Today was a perfect gift I could give myself, and I really hope the journey's going to go even farther for me."

Tauson, a 19-year-old playing in her first Australian Open, moved on to Round 3 with an impressive win over Kontaveit. She dominated on her serve with five aces and added five breaks of the No. 6 seed, who was eliminated early for a second straight year after her quarterfinals run in 2020.

"I just went in there believing I could win, but it wasn't like I have to win," Tauson said. "It was more: 'I can win, but we'll see what happens.'"

While few of the top seeds on the men's side lost, they weren't breezing through to the next round. Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Felix Auger-Aliassime each needed four sets to get past their respective opponents, with Andrey Rublev being the only top-10 seed to get through in straight sets.

Christopher O'Connell had the home crowd in an uproar as the Aussie took down Schwartzman 7-6 (6), 6-4, 6-4 in surprisingly strong fashion. O'Connell entered the event as the No. 175 player in the world and with a 1-3 record in his home Grand Slam. 

"It's the biggest win of my career," O'Connell said. "To do it at the Australian Open, second round, it's an unbelievable feeling...It's the best feeling I've ever had on a tennis court. Been playing tennis since I was four. It's a dream come true."

Elsewhere in the men's bracket, Murray's attempt at a return to major championship glory faded in a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 loss to Taro Daniel. Murray has not advanced past the third round in a major since 2017. 

Related Posts

Post a Comment

Subscribe Our Newsletter