'It's not the best tournament to beat Rafael Nadal', says Top 20

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'It's not the best tournament to beat Rafael Nadal', says Top 20

Diego Schwartzman will not easily forget the heavenly evening that brought him for the second consecutive year to the semifinals of the BNL Internationals of Italy. The Argentine played an almost perfect match against Rafael Nadal and achieved one of the most significant victories of his sporting life.

Schwartzman had often put Nadal in serious trouble in the previous nine, but never managed to beat him. Schwartzman believes he has never played as well as he did in the match, calling the result 'unthinkable'

Schwartzman on Rafael Nadal

"For sure it's my best match ever," Diego Schwartzman said.

"I played a few times against the three big champions in tennis. I never beat them until today. I'm very happy. Today I played my best tennis," he added. "Very similar to Roland Garros against Rafael Nadal three years ago and I'm very happy.

I was not thinking to beat him really because I was not playing good [lately]. But today I did my best and I'm very happy. I played against him nine times before," Schwartzman said. "Four or five times I was not close, but playing really well and close in the score, feeling well.

I came to the court trying to do the same things and the first set was really, really good for me. I took every chance he gave me. Later, I told myself that even if I lost the second set, I will have my chance in the third, precisely because there were a lack of matches.

I stayed very focused and I think that was the key," he added. "It's sad that there was no audience," Schwartzman said. "It's not the best tournament to beat Rafael Nadal for the first time, but now I'm focused on the semi-final.

And I have to rest well because I want to go to the final. This victory is huge. I wasn't playing very well before I got here. I had pain in my left hand. I ramped up a bit during the week. It's crazy because if you've seen my matches in the last three weeks, it was unthinkable.

Of course, it is very good for confidence and we'll see what happens next," he added. The Argentine defeated Canadian lefty Denis Shapovalov on Sunday to clinch a spot in the Rome final, his first at a Masters 1000.

They knew each other well, having trained together in the Bahamas before the Western & Southern Open. "He was playing really well since we came back in the U.S. He was playing good,"