The German has struggled to control his second deal this summer and it proved to be his Achilles heel once again, committing 17 double faults in a tick over three hours on court. His unforced error count also reached a staggering 65, as he cut a forlorn figure departing Arthur Ashe Stadium. It is a night and day from his epic triumph at the ATP Finals in December.
Schwartzman, whose return of serve is the envy of plenty of players on the tour, even admitted that the frequent double faults from the racquet of the German took some getting used to.
He said courtside: “He had many problems with his serve. I’m a big returner so I had to just take every chance I had.
“I was getting the chances, getting a few break points but I couldn’t win those points. Then he was breaks up. But I made a really big recovery [midway through the third set] and it was a really great match after that.”
The Argentine, who reached the quarter-finals in Flushing Meadows two years ago, could face his good friend, Rafael Nadal, in the last eight, should the Spaniard to stave off the threat of the 2014 champion Marin Cilic.
Schwartzman was under the impression he would face Matteo Berrettini, victorious over Andrey Rublev in straight sets over on Louis Armstrong Stadium.
He joked: “I thought my next round was actually against Berrettini because I was seeing his set point and match points on the big screen and now I know it could be Rafa.”
The Argentine was definitely not getting ahead of himself after an opening set in which he squandered an early break. Zverev had claimed the first set in his opening two matches and he was striking the ball cleanly off both wings. Prompting Schwartzman into a couple of uncharacteristic errors off his forehand wing, he took a set leas inside 46 minutes.
The double faults continued to leak, however, and much like the opening exchanges of the first set the German was guilty of donating a service break all too easily. On this occasion, Schwartzman would motor away with the set, staving off four break points off his own in a lengthy service hold to level the contest in the blink of an eye.
Zverev has a penchant for five-setters at Grand Slams – much to his detriment in the later rounds – and the third set was crucial for his chances of extending his stay at a major beyond the fourth round for only the third time in his career. He edged ahead in a nervy fifth game, but his mentality fragility manifested itself in the very next service game. His inability to find the service box on his second serve cost him the set.
The fourth set proved little more than a procession for Schwartzman.