After two deep runs in Rome and Paris on his beloved clay, Diego Schwartzman has entered the top-10 for the first time this week. World no. 8 will compete in Cologne 2 next week, entering his tenth tournament of the season as the 2nd seed behind Alexander Zverev.
The Argentine took a well-deserved rest following the Roland Garros semi-final, although it had lasted only for a couple of days, as Diego went to Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca to prepare for the upcoming tournaments. Using the indoor facilities, Schwartzman is training with Toni Nadal, the man who created the 20-time champion Rafa Nadal and who runs the Academy since 2017, when he decided to retire from the coaching job.
Schwartzman and Nadal played two matches on clay after the season restart, with the Argentine beating the Spaniard for the first time in a career in Rome, competing on a high level to earn a 6-2, 7-5 triumph in the quarters.
At Roland Garros, two rivals passed the first five obstacles to set the semi-final clash, with Rafa chasing the 28th Major final and Diego his first. The more experienced player was too strong in his kingdom once again, scoring a 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 victory in challenging three hours and nine minutes to advance into the 13th final in Paris.
Nadal fended off nine out of 12 break chances, controlling his service games until the second part of the third set and delivering six breaks that sent him over the top. The defending champion had the upper hand in the shortest and mid-range exchanges (the element he lacked in Rome), playing aggressive tennis and hitting 38 winners and 34 unforced errors, leaving the opponent on a 24-48 ratio.
Diego Schwartzman trains at Rafa Nadal Academy ahead of Cologne 2 event.
World no. 2 had to work hard in the first game, bringing it home after 14 minutes and two break points saved. He stole Schwartzman's serve in games two and four, saving another break opportunity at 3-1 and closing the opener on the third set point at 5-3.
Nadal had a clear advantage in the second set, dropping only a couple of points behind the initial shot and stealing the opponent's serve in games three and nine to open two sets to love advantage, moving closer to the finish line.
Rafa had a break in the third set on two occasions, throwing it away to keep Schwartzman in contention. The 11th game proved crucial when Nadal fended off three break chances with bold hitting from his forehand, gathering momentum ahead of the tie break and clinching it 7-0 to secure the final berth and remain undefeated in Roland Garros semi-finals.