Diego Schwartzman played through the wind and rain, and into the dark of night, against Dominic Thiem at the French Open, contesting a total of 376 points spread out across five sets and five hours, eight minutes, knowing all the while he'd never won a match of this magnitude.
And so, as he kept wasting chances to seize control of their Grand Slam tennis quarter-final, kept letting sets slip away, Schwartzman yelled at himself or at his coaches, put his hands on his hips or smirked at his mistakes.
Then, two points from defeat against the US Open champion and two-time runner-up at Roland Garros, Schwartzman found his way and claimed a 7-6 (1), 5-7, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (5), 6-2 win by taking the last four games against a fading Thiem.
"We both gave everything," said the No3-seeded Thiem, who is good friends with Schwartzman. "Despite [being] so disappointed, I'm still happy for him."
The 12th-seeded Schwartzman next will face 12-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal, whose 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-1 victory over 19-year-old Jannik Sinner, of Italy, didn't start until after 10.30pm and didn't finish until nearly 1.30am.
Schwartzman, from Argentina, entered his match against Thiem with an 0-3 record in major quarter-finals. He acknowledged that weighed on him.
"I was just so nervous," the 28-year-old said. "I saw the chance today."
Thiem had been 17-1 in Grand Slams this year, including a run to the final at the Australian Open. He also had won 26 of his past 30 matches at Roland Garros, with the losses all coming against Nadal or Novak Djokovic.
But all of the energy expended by Thiem's legs and mind over the past five weeks, in New York and in Paris, took a toll, including a five-setter in his previous match. From early on against Schwartzman, Thiem would bail out of points by trying mediocre drop shots, foreshadowing the day's result.
"I was over the limit," Thiem said, describing himself as "physically and mentally on the edge."
The good news for Schwartzman — because of how much his win took out of him — and for Nadal — because of how late his win went — is that they both get plenty of time to rest: Their semifinal is Saturday.
It will be Nadal's 13th at Roland Garros and 34th at all slams. He is 24-0 in semifinals and finals at the French Open, part of a 98-2 mark at the place he has dominated.
He has done pretty well against Schwartzman, too, owning a 9-1 head-to-head mark. Schwartzman, though, won the most recent clash, on clay in Rome last month.
"I know I can beat him," Schwartzman said.
In the women's draw, Nadia Podoroska has already won more matches at this French Open — eight — than it usually takes to raise the trophy.
That's because the 131st-ranked Argentine has come all the way from qualifying rounds to reach the semifinals, becoming the first woman to achieve that feat at Roland Garros in the Open era.
Having never won a main draw Grand Slam match before last week, Podoroska could hardly believe it after her 6-2, 6-4 quarter-final victory over third-seeded Elina Svitolina on Court Philippe Chatrier.
Podoroska is only the third female qualifier to get to the semifinals at any major tournament in the Open era, which began in 1968, and the first since Alexandra Stevenson at Wimbledon in 1999.
Another qualifier, Martina Trevisan, had a chance to join that list but couldn't take the last step. The 159th-ranked Trevisan, who also had not won a main-draw Grand Slam match before this event, lost 6-3, 6-1 to unseeded 19-year-old Iga Swiatek, while unseeded Danielle Collins beat 30th-seeded Ons Jabeur 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.