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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday September 19, 2020

 
Diego Schwartzman

Diego Schwartzman earned his first win in ten tries against Rafael Nadal to book a semifinal spot in Rome.

Photo Source: Getty

Diego’s a go in Rome.

Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman eased past Rafael Nadal for his first career win in ten tries against the king of clay, 6-2, 7-5, on Saturday evening at the Foro Italico.

Tennis Express

“We can find excuses, but I didn’t play well enough,” Nadal said after the match. “We have to think internally why and how I can fix it, but now is not the moment to find excuses now is the time to accept that I didn’t play well enough.”

Schwartzman had only taken two sets in his nine career meetings with Nadal but he was out of the blocks fast as he broke Nadal’s serve twice and saved the only break point he faced to take the opener, 6-2.

“I played against him many times, nine times before today,” Schwartzman told reporters. “I think four or five times I was close enough to feel like maybe if I play my best tennis I’m going to have chances.”


Schwartzman, who will face Denis Shapovalov on Sunday and bid for his first Masters 1000 final, says he realized that the conditions worked in his favor.

“The conditions for me are good at night, the bounce is not really high and the conditions are slow so I was just thinking to have chances first and then trying to take those chances,” he said.

The second set was far more complicated but Schwartzman ended a string of five consecutive breaks to finish off the victory with a forehand volley into the open court to clinch the win in two hours and four minutes.

Schwartzman reached his second consecutive Rome semifinal while Nadal drops to 63-7 lifetime at Rome and fails to reach the semifinals for the first time since 2017 and for just the sixth time in 17 appearances.

“I tried hard in the second, but losing three times the serve in a row, then you need to [search] for a miracle,” Nadal said. “I did twice but the third one, even if I was 15-30 it was not possible.”

It was a tough loss for Nadal, who said the humidity and heavy conditions made it tough for him to hit through the speedy Argentine.

“Has been not my night,” said Nadal. “He played a great match, I think, and not me. When this happens, you have to lose.”

Nadal will next be on court at Roland Garros, where he will bid to write another chapter of his voluminous Paris legacy. How will the 12-time champ prepare for his favorite Slam with very little match preparation?

“I don’t know, I will probably go back home and then let’s see what’s going on," he said. "I did my job here, I did a couple of things well, and other things bad. At least I played three matches, I [fought] until the end, but losing that many serves you can’t expect to win a match, so it’s something that I have to fix.

"I know how to do it. I am going to keep working and practicing with the right attitude, and going to try to give myself a chance to be ready.”

 

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