World No. 14 Diego Schwartzman admitted Rafael Nadal played much better this time than he did at the Rome Masters. Three weeks ago, Schwartzman stunned Nadal in the Rome Masters quarterfinal, before he lost to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the final.
Schwartzman and Nadal met once again -- this time in the French Open semifinal -- and the Spaniard was dominant as he beat the Argentine 6-3 6-3 7-6 (0). "He played better than Rome. He has a lot of matches in his body, so he improved a few things that he did not so well.
I made a few mistakes with my backhand today. I just played a little bit worse, but I think it was better from him," Schwartzman said after the match, per Max Gao.
Schwartzman said Nadal came up big when needed most
Nadal saved two break points in the opening game of the match, before three consecutive breaks of serve were seen.
After taking a 3-1 first-set lead, Nadal held on to his serve to win the opener. In the second set, Nadal claimed two breaks to win the second and take a comfortable two-set lead. In the third set, Nadal was twice up by a break but Schwartzman refused to quit and twice broke back the Spaniard.
In the 11th game, Nadal saved three break points to force a tie-break -- which he dominated to earn a straight-set win. "He’s always trying to find the moment to have the solutions in every single moment. At that time when I was playing better than him and finding the way maybe to go to the fourth, he did two winners and then one serve and volley," Schwartzman said of Nadal.
"Rafa is Rafa. I think he knows how to improve. He knows how to practice, how to do everything. After Rome, he goes straight to practice. He went to improve the things that he did bad in Rome. That’s why he’s in the final right now”.
Schwartzman, who will enter the top-10 for the first time in his career when the ATP list gets updated, said he wasn't aggressive enough. "I was not really aggressive with the backhand. Obviously you have to do many good backhand cross, backhand to the line, to continue moving him.
Maybe today I did a few mistakes trying to move the ball, trying to be aggressive. That was different in Rome also," Schwartzman said.