Unseeded Robby Ginepri and eighth seed Guillermo Coria of Argentina were both battered and bleary after a five-set US Open slugfest on Wednesday that lifted the American to his first Grand Slam semifinal.
"I'm just dead right now," Ginepri said on court after his 4-6, 6-1, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 quarter-final win that was his third successive five-set triumph. "I don't know how I got through that match.
Like two boxers weary and spent after a rough contest, the players traded advantages in a see-saw fifth set, swinging wildly at times and connecting with brilliant combinations on other points.
"I'm pretty beat up," said Ginepri. "This match was rough. He made a lot of balls. We were both running each other side to side.
"He runs down so many shots. The balls that he gets back you kind of want to go for a little bit more, a little closer to the lines, and then you end up missing."
Showing courageous grit, the 23-year-old Coria saved five match points before delivering his 13th and 14th double faults of the match to end it.
"I had a lot of pain throughout the whole body," said Coria, who was also pushed to five tough sets by Olympic champion Nicolas Massu of Chile in the fourth round. "It was hard to move.
"But I gave it all. I ran, tried hard and just gave all that I could."
Ginepri had lost in the first round of his last four Grand Slam events before coming alive this summer on hard courts, winning 18 of 21 matches leading into the Open, including his second career title at Indianapolis.
The 22-year-old Ginepri looked skyward for inspiration in the final moments of the match.
"I was getting a little help from my grandfather up there. I know he's been looking down and would have been proud of me today.
"His favorite player was Boris Becker. I guess he loved the dive, he'd call him 'Boom Boom' because he'd always have so many bruises and cuts on his elbow."
Ginepri's win ensures an all-American semifinal. He will play the winner of Wednesday night's quarter-final between seventh-seeded Andre Agassi, winner of eight Grand Slam titles, and wild card James Blake.