Diego Schwartzman’s hopes of reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian Open were ended on Sunday morning after he was beaten by Rafael Nadal.
In a match which lasted just under four hours on the Rod Laver Arena, the 24th seed Argentine, provided the world number one with his toughest match of the competition to date. Having lost the first set 6-3, he recovered from a break down three times to take the second set on a tiebreak – the first set Nadal had lost.
That though would prove to be as good as it got for him, as Nadal rallied to take the third and fourth sets 6-3, to set up a last-eight clash with Marin Cilic.
Speaking afterwards, Schwartzman said: ” I think I did a good job inside the court and had many, many chances at the start of every set, having a lot of break points, but I couldn’t win them.
“I think Rafa played good points in that moments, playing aggressive. That’s why he’s one of the best in the history, because he play really good in that moments. After the second set, also he start to serve a little bit better, started to win a lot of points with the serve.
“In the fourth, I was a little bit tired, trying to do every point, trying to do the points, short points, and it was not easy against Rafa.”
Asked about how he approached the match, he said: “I’ve played against him three times [prior to this] and I always try to do the similar game, trying to be aggressive. Sometimes try to do long points; sometimes short points. Trying to serve in my best serves. Tried to return well, also. But against Rafa is not easy playing four hours in aggressive form and nothing.
“I think I did a good job. I had the chances, but Rafa played better than me in the important moments.”
Nadal said: “It was a great battle. He is a good friend of mine. He’s a great player, in all aspects, and I feel that for a lot of moments he was serving well.
“I was able to keep fighting until the end and it is the first big match I have played in 2018. It probably helps my confidence, knowing I can resist almost four hours on court.”