Mumbai: Diego Schwartzman loves to bounce; his social media account is stuffed with movies testifying to his uninhibited ardour for it. He likes to publish photos of himself lovingly fake-biting his accomplice, He likes to laze about together with his canines, play boardgames of PlayStation together with his colleagues when on tour, and he likes to play tennis. The man with a boxer’s nostril and boy-band smile has been hanging round Grand Slams doing all of the stuff he likes to do for what looks like perpetually.
Schwartzman broke into the highest 50 of the ATP world rankings in February 2017. He has by no means dropped out of it since. He has all of three profession ATP titles to point out (one every in 2016, 2018 and 2019), however has an total report of 158-137. He tends to win greater than lose. He has performed in every of the 23 Grand Slams because the begin of the 2015 season, however has solely gone so far as three quarter-finals to this point.
This time, it’s a bit completely different.
On Friday, Schwartzman will play his maiden Major semi-closing in his twenty fifth look. Perhaps his earlier failures to transcend the quarters is as a result of he lacks that one standout weapon (serve, forehand, and so on.) to blast previous his opponents. But he makes up for it with a stable all-spherical defensive sport. It can also be why he’s doubtless to supply the hardest problem within the event but to Rafael Nadal, the defending champion who in any other case appears to be cruising in the direction of a thirteenth Roland Garros title. Nadal leads Schwartzman 9-1 of their head-to-head report, however the Argentine has beforehand troubled the king of clay right here at Roland Garros.
In 2018, Schwartzman snapped Nadal’s streak of profitable 37 consecutive units within the event when he took the primary set 6-4. Schwartzman led 3-2 within the second earlier than rain halted the match. It was solely after the solar got here out that Nadal turned the tide. The chilly and damp conditions on this delayed French Open are considerably just like when Schwartzman gave Nadal a number of complications in 2018.
Note additionally that the solitary victory that the world No 14 has registered over the Spaniard got here a number of weeks in the past in Rome, the place, once more like in Paris, the balls didn’t bounce as excessive. Schwartzman has additionally gained 9 out of his final 10 matches on clay, together with the win over Nadal in Rome and over two-time French Open finalist Dominic Thiem.
“Well, I’m unsure as a result of if I see the historical past, I’m 10-1 (9-1) down,” Schwartzman stated with a chuckle when requested about feeling assured of difficult Nadal after beating Thiem within the quarters. “I’m unsure if I’m going to have quite a lot of confidence. But, yeah, I do know this week that I can beat him.”
Also carrying some confidence into his semi-closing will likely be Stefanos Tsitsipas, who faces world No 1 Novak Djokovic. If the 22-yr-outdated Greek was elegant in his straight-units quarter-closing win over Andrey Rublev, the highest seed Serb was patchy in kind and health in beating Pablo Carreno Busta 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 late on Wednesday evening. A unfastened Djokovic dedicated 41 unforced errors and, extra worryingly, confirmed discomfort together with his left arm and neck that appeared to ease solely as soon as he obtained medical consideration after shedding the primary set.