World No. 2 Rafael Nadal said this time he was much better prepared to face Diego Schwartzman and that showed on the court. Three weeks ago, 19-time Grand Slam champion Nadal suffered a shock straight-set loss to Schwartzman in the Rome Masters quarterfinal.
Nadal skipped the season restart in the United States and instead kicked off his season restart much later than most players. Nadal was lacking matches in Rome and Schwartzman took the full advantage of it. Nadal and Schwartzman met in the French Open semifinal on Friday and this time it was the Spaniard who earned a straight-set win 6-3 6-3 7-6 (0).
"I think different scenario, first of all. Second thing, I think I am little bit more prepared here, no? Rome have been my first event after six months, and was the first challenge against Diego," Nadal said in his press conference after beating Schwartzman, per Max Gao.
"Today I think the experience of Rome help me in some way because I was able to take a look on the match, to analyze the things that worked well and things that, of course, didn't work. We tried to go on court with a plan, with the right determination."
Nadal happy with his performance
Nadal blew his first break of the match but then broke Schwartzman again in the fourth game and then held on to his serve to win the opener. In the second set, the Spaniard earned two breaks and lost no service games to take a comfortable two-set lead.
In the third set, Schwartzman twice recovered from a break down against Nadal. Then in the 11th game, Schwartzman had three break points but failed to convert. Nadal then absolutely dominated the tie-break to get the job done in straight sets.
"In some way I think I played tactically the right match. I think at the half of the first set I make a couple mistakes tactically/technically. But in general terms, I am super happy about the match. Have been an important victory for me against a very tough player," Nadal said.
"The speed & the bounce of the ball are not very high this year because even if you play during the day, the conditions are not very warm. Of course, the conditions out there today have been one of the best of the tournament, no? Have been 16 degrees, not much wind”.