Over the weekend, Diego Schwartzman pulled off one of the most difficult tasks in the modern era of tennis: beating Rafael Nadal on clay. The world No. 15 defeated the Spaniard in the Italian Open on Saturday—in straight sets, no less—ending Nadal's chances for a record-extending 10th Rome title.
The 6-2, 7-5 upset revealed that the world No. 2 may not be unbeatable on clay only a week before the French Open kicks off this Sunday. Nadal hadn't competed since February, while Schwartman played the New York swing as well as Kitzbuhel, going 2-3.
❤️❤️❤️ https://t.co/pE4NiuVC6b— diego schwartzman (@dieschwartzman) September 20, 2020
Before Saturday, Schwartzman had never defeated Nadal in their nine previous meetings. He was able to capitalize on the Spaniard's serve, breaking him twice in the opening set.
"So tennis many times is crazy, because the last three weeks, if you saw my matches, for sure, you bet for Rafa on this match," Schwartzman told press. "And today I played my best, and that's why these kind of individual sports are really nice to watch because we can do this."
The Argentinian managed to keep the momentum going by defeating Denis Shapovalov in the semifinals on Sunday, although not quite as easily. In his first career match against the Canadian, Schwartzman prevailed, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (4).
Schwartzman played in his first ATP Masters final on Monday against Novak Djokovic, and despite holding a double break in the first set, he lost 7-5, 6-3. The 28-year-old has still cemented his place as a dark horse for the French Open, while Djokovic now holds the most ATP Masters 1000 titles in history with 36.
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