Will Rafael Nadal maintain an unbeaten record against Diego Schwartzman when they clash in the quarterfinals of the Rome Masters…
Will Rafael Nadal maintain an unbeaten record against Diego Schwartzman when they clash in the quarterfinals of the Rome Masters on Saturday?
Rafael Nadal vs Diego Schwartzman | Rome Masters QF | 19/9/2020, 7.30pm BSTBet Now! New Customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org.
Nadal vs Schwartzman is live from Rome on Saturday 19 September, 8.30pm local/7.30pm BST
After six months out of competition, Rafael Nadal has dropped just six games in his first two matches at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia – can Diego Schwartzman make him work harder?
Argentina’s Schwartzman has shaken off poor form to reach the quarterfinals in Rome for the second straight year, but unless he can find a way to beat Nadal for the first time in ten attempts, he will be unable to repeat last year’s semifinal showing.
Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.
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Nadal vs Schwartzman: Head-to-head
Rafael Nadal leads the head-to-head with Diego Schwartzman 9-0, and has won 22 of the 24 sets they have played.
Nadal vs Schwartzman: Preview
Rafael Nadal’s performances at the Rome Masters so far have made six months away from competition look like six days. The nine-time champion has lost just six games in his first two matches, and if a 6-1, 6-1 trouncing of recent US Open semifinalist Pablo Carreno Busta could be explained by the younger Spaniard’s fatigue after his run in New York and having to make a brutally quick transition to a different surface, a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Dusan Lajovic proved that Nadal’s form is no illusion.
True, Lajovic has not been a difficult opponent for Nadal in the past, but the Serb was a runner-up at the Monte-Carlo Masters last May and truthfully he did play a lot better than the scoreline suggested against Nadal. In the first set, he was broken immediately but broke straight back for 1-1, and at 1-2, fended off six break points in a nine-deuce game before finally succumbing and being broken again. He would not win another game in that set and fell behind 1-4 in the second, but retrieved one of the breaks to valiantly pull himself back almost level before Nadal broke him one last time to love to close out the win in 91 minutes.
Nadal hit an absurdly good return winner off his forehand wing – off a very good serve, too – at a crucial moment in that lengthy 1-2 game, but his forehand was firing throughout, and his backhand was almost as good. Indeed, it was difficult to fault Nadal’s performance at all, and not just in the context of having been out of competition for six months.
With the French Open just over a week away, of course, there is no time to waste, but it’s still impressive that Nadal has been able to find his form so quickly and he is now one match away from a twelfth Rome Masters semifinal.
Diego Schwartzman made his first Rome Masters semifinal in 2019, beating Kei Nishikori to do so before losing to Novak Djokovic in three sets. A three-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist, including at the French Open in 2018 when he lost to Nadal in four, Schwartzman had a solid start to the year with an Australian Open fourth-round finish and an ATP Tour final in Cordoba, but hasn’t looked very good since the restart, going 1-2 in the USA before losing to qualifier Laslo Djere in the Kitzbuhel quarterfinals last week.
To be honest, Schwartzman’s form in Rome this week hasn’t been convincing either, and he’s benefited from a good draw: After a first-round bye, he beat John Millman 6-4, 7-6(1) before battling past big-serving Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Nadal’s head-to-head against Schwartzman speaks for itself: 9-0, and 22 of 24 sets won against the Argentine, who is an exceptional mover and defender but can only ever threaten Nadal by pushing himself to a level of aggression he’s unable to sustain. The only value you will find in this one is in backing Schwartzman to be able to push the scoreline past 6-3, 6-4, or in backing Nadal to win 6-2, 6-2 or more one-sidedly. I know which one looks more likely.