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By Richard Pagliaro | Wednesday, October 13, 2021

 
Diego Schwartzman

Diego Schwartzman snapped a 10-match losing streak against Top 10 players surprising Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3 to reach the Indian Wells quarterfinals.

Photo credit: BNP Paribas Open Facebook

Diego Schwartzman continues creating resourceful revival in Indian Wells.

A fierce Schwartzman surprised sixth-seeded Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3 snapping the San Diego champion’s nine-match winning streak to surge into his first BNP Paribas Open quarterfinal.

Watch: Roger & Rafa Make Dreams Come True

Schwartzman slashed his 10-match losing streak against Top 10 opponents and denied a red-hot Ruud, who had won 24 of his last 27 matches, his 50th win of the season. Schwartzman will play either 21st-seeded Briton Cameron Norrie or American Tommy Paul for a spot in the final four.




The fall season began as the worst of times for the 29-year-old Argentinean who suffered a shocking straight-sets loss to Belarusian junior Daniil Ostapenkov in Davis Cup play before home fans in Buenos Aires last month. A disconsolate Schwartzman called it the worst defeat of his career, but he’s shown steely drive and a flair for crisp crosscourt combinations to find new life in the desert.

The 11th-seeded Schwartzman saved two match points fighting past American qualifier Maxime Cressy 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 in his opener then withstood a seven-game surge against Daniil Evans before streaking through 10 straight games to close a 5-7, 6-4, 6-0 victory in round three.

Despite losing his last two matches to Ruud, Schwartzman was sharper at the outset today.

Playing to Ruud’s nuclear forehand to open space to the Norwegian’s weaker backhand wing, Schwartzman roped a diagonal forehand to break with a bang in the opening game of the match.

Schwartzman zapped a short-angled forehand winner for break point and a chance for the double break in the fifth game. Ruud began to find his forehand more and pasted one right off the baseline to save break point. Ruud rapped a forehand down the line earning a hard-fought hold for 2-3 in a game that lasted nearly eight minutes.

Facing double break point in the eighth game, Schwartzman stepped up. The 2020 Roland Garros semifinalist slid a forehand winner to save the second break point, battling back from 15-40 down to hold for 5-3.

The Schwartzman return was the key weapon in the set. Scrambling into the doubles alley, Schwartzman flipped a forehand return back and Ruud overshot the baseline with his forehand reply as the Argentinean broke at 15 to take the 46-minute opener. Schwartzman won 12 of 15 first-serve points and hit four more forehand winners than Ruud—10 to 6—in the opening set.

The owner of an ATP-best five titles in 2021, Ruud righted his direction ripping a series of forehands and knocking off a forehand volley breaking to start the second set.

Tennis Express

The world No. 10 took a medical timeout after the third game and received treatment on his right arm. When play resumed, Schwartzman showed his vigor in a forehand-to-forehand exchange drawing a wild error to break back and even the set after four games.

Though the San Diego champion took a tablet to quiet the sting in his arm there was no remedy for the pain in the neck across the net. A stubborn Schwartzman continued to pick on the sixth seed’s two-hander sometimes eliciting a slice response from Ruud. Schwartzman pinned Ruud in the corner, stepped in and drove his backhand down the line converting his third break for 5-3.




Serving for the quarterfinal, Schwartzman slashed an ace triple match point then fired a forehand down the line snapping a 10-match losing streak vs. Top 10 opponents.

No. 8-seeded Hubert Hurkacz continued his quest for a historic reverse Sunshine Double.




The Miami Open champion dismissed Aslan Karatsev 6-1, 6-3. Hurkacz will play either top-seeded Daniil Medvedev or 23rd-seeded Grigor Dimitrov for a place in the final four.

 

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