Diego Schwartzman ensured he didn’t lose a tenth time to Rafael Nadal in the quarter-final of the Italian Open as he beat the Spaniard 6-2, 7-5 after two hours and four minutes on Saturday evening.
Nadal had won all previous nine meetings with the Argentine but came up short for the first time in Rome Masters as Schwartzman got into his second ATP Masters 1000 semi-final.
Schwartzman reached the last four at this level for the first time last year at the same event.
Watch the match highlights below
“It was crazy. Tennis is crazy. Our performance is always crazy. The past three weeks were really bad for me,” Schwartzman says on the court after his victory.
“Today I played my best tennis. Very similar to Roland Garros against Rafa three years ago and I’m very happy. I was not thinking to beat him really because I was not playing good [lately]. But today I did my best and I’m very happy.”
“For sure it’s my best match ever,” Schwartzman said. “I played a few times against the three big champions in tennis. I never beat them until today. I’m very happy.”
Schwartzman earned his first victory against Nadal having played some spectacular tennis against the world No 2. Schwartzman played aggressively with a lot of focus and concentration to oust one of the tournament’s favourites.
Schwartzman did so well in engaging Nadal’s deadly forehand with his backhand, pummeling his two-hander at every opportunity.
The second seed only won 48 per cent of his first-serve points, whereas Schwartzman earned 58 per cent of his second-serve points.
Schwartzman’s could play in his first final at a Masters 1000 if he manages to get past Canadian lefty Denis Shapovalov on Sunday. Both players know each other well, having trained together in the Bahamas before the Western & Southern Open.