For Diego Schwartzman, the Italian week was to be framed. Despite a shy start and despite the fact that no one was betting on him, the Argentine (who enjoys an excellent ranking but not as much credit among the insiders) has eliminated the sacred monster of red clay Rafael Nadal and the Canadian rising star Denis Shapovalov, to earn his first final in a Masters 1000, lost to Novak Djokovic.
The Argentine has often put Roger Federer, Nadal and Djokovic in trouble.
Schwartzman on the Big 3
It’s been an extraordinary week for Diego, who ousted the defending champion, Rafael Nadal, in the quarterfinals in Rome.
The Argentine beat Rafael Nadal for the first time in his career, having previously lost in all their nine encounters. During the post-match interview, Schwartzman showed his respect for the Big-3. He emphasized that he wasn’t able to utilize his chances against them in the past, something he turned around this time.
“Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, I respect them deeply, they are the greatest in the history of tennis. But when I come on the court, I try not to respect them. In the past, I have often played well, but I didn’t take my chances.
Now I did”. said Diego Schwartzman. Appearing in his first Masters 1000 final, Schwartzman was attempting to become the fifth Argentine to lift a Masters 1000 trophy. Schwartzman became the shortest Masters 1000 finalist in history (5’7”) with back-to-back victories against nine-time champion Nadal and #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov.
Schwartzman would have cracked the Top 10 in the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time if he had captured the Rome trophy. As a result of Djokovic’s win, Rome semi-finalist Shapovalov will make his debut in the Top 10.
This is the second straight year that Djokovic has defeated Schwartzman at the Foro Italico. The 17-time Grand Slam champion overcame the Argentine in three sets to advance to last year’s championship match. Djokovic is unbeaten in five ATP Head2Head matches against Schwartzman.
“[Diego] played well in heavy conditions, especially at the beginning… He played many long matches. He had fantastic wins against Nadal and Shapovalov last night, so credit to him for a phenomenal tournament and I wish him all the best in the rest of the season," said Djokovic.
Schwartzman was attempting to join 2016 champion Andy Murray and 2017 winner Alexander Zverev as only the third player outside of Djokovic and Nadal to lift the Rome title since 2005.