If you can’t beat him, avoid him.
Diego Schwartzman snapped Rafael Nadal’s streak of 36 straight sets at Roland Garros before the king of clay answered with a commanding nine-game run to close a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 victory racing into his record-extending 14th Roland Garros semifinal.
It’s the second year in a row 13-time French Open champion Nadal has stopped Schwartzman in Paris following his semifinal sweep last October. That came after Nadal’s four-set 2018 quarterfinal victory over the Buenos Aires-born baseliner.
Given Nadal’s 105-2 career record in Paris, Schwartzman has a simple solution for navigating the 35-year-old Spaniard in the future: hope to play world No. 1 Novak Djokovic rather than Nadal.
“I did great tournaments here in Paris, but always losing against Rafa the last few years,” Schwartzman said. “In semifinal, two times quarters.
“I want to play maybe Nole next time, but no Rafa. Is difficult. I did great matches. Always close the last few matches. But at the end he’s winning, so nothing.”
Last fall, Schwartzman surprised Nadal scoring a 6-2, 7-5 victory in the Rome quarterfinals.
Though the 5’7″ Argentinean tested the king of clay today, Schwartzman said once Rafa becomes Rafa, he commands Court Philippe Chatrier.
“He feel like he’s doing everything to put you two, three meters behind the line. The court is really big and you start to play difficult games and difficult matches against him,” Schwartzman said. “The last three times we played here in Chatrier, two times we went to the fourth, and last year I was very close to go to the fourth, as well.
“You know, at the end is very difficult. I had the chances today maybe in the third. I was close. I was playing a little bit better than him. At the end he’s Rafa and he’s always finding the way.”
Photo credit: Roland Garros Facebook