TENNIS – Masters 1000 Rome: Schwartzman defeats Shapovalov and joins Djokovic in the final

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What a match … and what a fight! The (few) spectators present at Foro Italico had the right to a completely crazy semi-final between Denis Shapovalov and Diego Schwartzman. And above all to an anthology suspense in a last unbridled round. Less spectacular but more solid, Schwartzman ended up having the last word in the decisive tie break (6-4, 5-7, 7-6). After taking out Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals, the Argentine will now have to rub shoulders with Novak Djokovic in the final.

Such a spectacle would have deserved a much more energized atmosphere. This Roman semi-final, however, started smoothly. Diego Schwartzman, building on his heroic victory over Nadal, played very fair, distributing the game and minimizing his mistakes to make the break quickly. But as the set drew to a close, the match was packed. As the Argentine served for the round, he saw Shapovalov succeed in breaking… before the Canadian lost his serve just behind.

Shapovalov nevertheless served for the match

The second round confirmed that Shapovalov was building up, however. Offensive sometimes to the point of excess, not hesitating to go for his salvation on the fly, Mikhail Youzhny’s protégé made rain and shine, allowing himself several spectacular hot shots to pick up the score.

The third set then began. A hair-raising round, screwed on springs, where the players alternated (very) highs and lows, with no less than six breaks in eight games. Shapovalov, true to his state of mind, has multiplied initiatives, winning moves … and waste. At 5-4, the Canadian served for the match. But his opponent did not let go.

A major new challenge awaits Schwartzman

And it is quite logical that the two players had to go through a decisive game to decide. More lucid, and above all more consistent, Schwartzman took advantage of Shapovalov’s last largesse to win this huge showdown. Symbol of this knife match: a single point ultimately separates the two men in statistical terms (113 to 112). Schwartzman becomes the first Argentinian since Guillermo Coria to qualify for the final at the Foro Italico. But after the king of the land Nadal, and after this epic semi-final, another immense challenge awaits him.

Earlier, in the heat of the Roman afternoon, Novak Djokovic ended up extinguishing the whims of novice Casper Ruud. Failing to be at his best level, the Serbian wins. And he is on a mission in the Italian capital. A 5th coronation here would allow him to overtake Rafael Nadal in the number of Masters 1000 (they are for the moment tied, with 35 titles each), in addition to ideally concluding his preparation for Roland Garros. Undoubtedly blunted by his fights, Schwartzman will still have to don his “Super Diego” costume to overthrow the Belgrade ogre.

Diego Schwartzman – Masters 1000 Rome

Credit: Getty Images

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