U.S. Open: Diego Schwartzman enjoys his stature after upset of Marin Cilic

At 5 feet 7, Diego Schwartzman of Argentina is often much shorter than his opponent. He slayed a giant on Friday when he upset 6-foot-6 Marin Cilic, the No. 5 seed at the U.S. Open, 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-4 in a third-round match on the grandstand court. Cilic was the 2014 Open champion but had been slowed by an adductor injury. His departure leaves the bottom of the draw unusually open.

Schwartzman, the No. 29 seed, enjoys being an inspiration for athletes of small stature. “I hope maybe they can understand tennis is for everyone. Is not just for the tall guys,” he said.

A showdown between up-and-comers Denis Shapovalov of Canada and Kyle Edmund of Great Britain fizzled when Edmund’s back locked up and he retired, giving Shapovalov a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 1-0 victory. Shapovalov, 18, is the youngest man to reach the fourth round of the U.S. Open since Michael Chang did so at 17 in 1989. “It’s unfortunate what happened,” Shapovalov said of Edmund’s injury. He also said he’s not tired after having played three qualifying matches to reach the main draw. “Luckily I have had short matches,” said Shapovalov, who will next face No. 12 Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain.

No. 10 John Isner needed treatment for a stiff neck but now will have ample time to recover. No. 23 Mischa Zverev of Germany outplayed him in earning a 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (5) victory and a spot in the fourth round against Sam Querrey of Santa Monica. Querrey recorded 19 aces in overpowering Radu Albot of Moldova 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-4. “The bottom half of the draw has opened up. There's no way to not see that,” said Querrey, a Wimbledon semifinalist this year. “There's a chance for everyone there.”

Stephens Shines

Floridian Sloane Stephens continued a strong comeback from foot surgery and an 11-month absence with a 6-2, 6-4 third-round victory over Australian Ashleigh Barty. Stephens said her time away gave her a healthier perspective on life. “Now I'm kind of, like, I do this for fun. I love tennis,” she said. “I think I have it pretty good.”

Maria Sharapova had to work hard against 18-year-old fellow wild-card entrant Sofia Kenin but emerged with a 7-5, 6-2 third-round victory at chilly Arthur Ashe Stadium. Kenin, who was born in Russia but grew up in the United States, hung in tough against her idol. “She came out and had nothing to lose today and that’s always dangerous,” Sharapova said. “I’m happy I got through.”

Also, Venus Williams, 37, defeated Maria Sakkari of Greece, 6-3, 6-4. Williams has reached the fourth round or better in seven straight Grand Slams. She will face Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 winner over Russian Ekaterina Makarova.

helene.elliott@latimes.com

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