(Reuters) – Tomas Martin Etcheverry reached the quarter-finals at the French Open, becoming the last Argentine player in the tournament after countryman Francisco Cerundolo fell in an epic five-set battle against sixth seed Holger Rune.
The 23-year-old Etcheverry overcame an injured Yoshihito Nishioka from Japan, 7-6(8) 6-0 6-1 on Court Suzanne Lengle to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-finals. Along with Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia, they keep South American hopes alive at Roland Garros.
“I can’t believe it. I’m very grateful to everyone. I know there are a lot of Argentinians here and I want to thank them for the support they gave me. You don’t know how much I appreciate it. This is for you,” Etcheverry said after the match.
The Argentine, ranked 49 in the world, had won only one match at a Grand Slam prior to the French Open, in the Australian Open last January. However, he reached his first two ATP Tour finals this season, at the Chile Open and the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships in Houston.
After the withdrawal of Briton Jack Draper in the first round, Etcheverry knocked out Australian Alex de Minaur and Croatian Borna Coric in the second and third rounds in Paris. He will now take on Germany’s Alexander Zverev in the last eight.
“It’s going to be tough,” Etcheverry said at a press conference. “I think Zverev is much more experienced than me, but I feel very good playing against him. I’m playing unbelievable tennis this week, and I just have to focus on my game”.
(Reporting by Angelica Medina in Mexico City; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)