'Facing Rafael Nadal is always a good challenge,' says Diego Schwartzman

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'Facing Rafael Nadal is always a good challenge,' says Diego Schwartzman

Rafael Nadal and Diego Schwartzman were the rivals in three of the past four Roland Garros events, with the Spaniard scoring all three wins. Their 12th meeting came in June, and Rafa beat Diego for the 11th time in the quarters to enter the last four.

The Argentine had not played well this season before Roland Garros, but he found the form in Paris to reach the last eight without losing a set and arrange another meeting against the king of clay, just like last October.

Nadal claimed his 13th Roland Garros crown last fall, beating all rivals in straight sets but spending the most time on the court against the Argentine in a 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 victory that required over three hours. Diego bounced back in the third set, but it was not enough to bring it home, as Nadal claimed it 7-0 in the tie break to seal the deal and move a step closer towards the title.

The Argentine was eager to challenge the Spaniard at this year's Roland Garros as well, hoping to produce his A-game and challenge the most formidable rival on clay. Schwartzman did not think about the opponent on the other side of the net, focusing on his game and tactics.

Diego knew how important it is to make a good start against Rafa, saying he wanted to impose his strokes and make a strong start against the rival who gives his best from start to finish.

Rafael Nadal met Diego Schwartzman in the Roland Garros quarter-final.

"Against Rafa, you have to walk on the court thinking about creating opportunities and winning.

It's essential to think about something else and not about Rafa on the other side of the net. It's not easy to beat him if you think about staying on the court for four or five hours and repeating everything he has accomplished at Roland Garros.

You have to step on the court thinking about producing your best tennis and implementing your tactics. It's essential for all of us, even Rafa, how you will start the match; if the rival makes a strong one, it's not easy to respond.

Against Rafa, you always know he will fight and make it a difficult one for you. Playing against Rafa in these tournaments is always a good time to understand how good you are playing; it's always a good challenge. I know we played two times here, and they were good matches; let's see what happens in this one," Diego Schwartzman said.