Botic van de Zandschulp’s stunning US Open run continues

His name sounds like a revered renaissance painter — and 25-year-old Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp has crafted some tennis art in Flushing Meadows that has landed him in the U.S. Open quarterfinals.

Pronouncing van de Zandschulp’s full name in one breath is as tough as it is to put away the 11th-seeded Argentinian baseline bug Diego Schwartzman. The Dutch master finally did it in an entertaining five-setter under a closed roof at a jam-packed Louis Armstrong Stadium on Sunday.

Van de Zandschulp, who had never been on American soil before the U.S. Open, is just the third men’s qualifier in Open history to make the quarterfinals. Sunday’s final count: 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 5-7, 6-1.

After the match, a reporter asked him if he could say his name in full and he obliged with good humor, saying, “It’s pretty tough, huh?”

Dressed in all black, van de Zandschulp had reeled off three victories to get into the main draw and now has added four more wins. That’s seven in total at Flushing Meadows — which for a main-draw entrant would mean the Open championship.

Botic van de Zandschulp
Robert Sabo

Van de Zandschulp took the first two sets, but then saw the Argentine battle back to force a fifth set after van de Zandschulp blew two match points when leading 5-4 in the fourth.

But van de Zandschulp regrouped, went up 3-0 in the fifth set with his penetrating serve and deep forehands en route to the four-hour, 20-minute win.

The man with the tournament’s best name next faces the No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia in the quarterfinals.

Van de Zandschulp’s previous claim to fame was upsetting Hubert Hurkacz in the first round of this year’s French Open.

“I’d beat players who are ranked 20 or 10 in the world,’’ he said. “But I didn’t do it, like, this often, this consistently. I think I’m playing really consistently here, showing some good tennis throughout the whole tournament. That’s new for me.’’

Van de Zandschulp is ranked 117th in the world, but should go up to at least 61 when this is all done. He’s been the comeback king in this Open, losing the first set in the first three matches.

U.S. Open
Botic van de Zandschulp
Robert Sabo

On the men’s side, this was the first time three qualifiers have reached the Round of 16 at the Open since qualifying records were first kept in 1982.

The gig could be up Tuesday when Medvedev is up. The Russian also was asked to pronounce the Dutchman’s name.

“Definitely a lot of runs here, a lot of I would say surprises, maybe even more than in other Slams,’’ Medvedev said. “If I serve well, if I play well, I know that it’s not easy to play against me. He has some matches in his legs. I’m going to try to use it and try to win.’’

Schwartzman said van de Zandschulp was a lot more aggressive than what he had seen on video.

“His tactic today was working perfectly,’’ he said. “I think he deserves the win. He played much better all the match. I was thinking he was trying to play aggressive, trying to do winners. It was a little bit different. He was doing the slices, passing shots. The mix that he did, it was working.’’


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