The Peque will play a lot in the final. After you have beaten Nadal, you can accomplish three things that you have never achieved before in your career.
The triumph in three sets in a dramatic and long match against the Canadian Denis Shapovalov, which gave him a pass to the final of the 1000 Masters in Rome, left Diego Schwartzman facing the possibility of achieving three unprecedented achievements for his career. Because if he manages to beat the Serbian Novak Djokovic this Monday in the final, the Small He would take a triple prize that would come from the hand of the coronation.
A professional since 2010, Schwartzman has won three ATP titles. In 2016, he inaugurated his record in Istanbul; in 2018 it was crowned in Rio de Janeiro -his only title in a 500 and the most important of his career- and last year he won the competition of Los Cabos. In Rome you will have the chance to add the highest ranking trophy to your personal harvest: un Masters 1000, something that so far never achieved. It would be the first of three hits that can come hand in hand with a victory.
He Small could thus become the fourth Argentine to lift the trophy on Italian brick dust and the first to do so in more than thirty years. The last celestial and white champion of the contest was Alberto Mancini, who in 1989 defeated the American in five sets Andre Agassi, five of the world, in the final. Before they had won the title Guillermo Vilas, in 1980, and José Luis Clerc, in 1981.
Schwartzman would also cut a drought of more than two years without Argentine titles in this category, the second most important on the circuit behind the Grand Slam, which started after Juan Martín Del Potro’s victory at Indian Wells in 2018.
The final against Djokovic will also be the first for him Small in a Masters 1,000. Until this Sunday, his best performance had been achieved last year in this same contest, when he reached the semifinals, but he could not in that instance against the Serbian, who beat him in three sets.
Schwartzman will seek revenge against Nole, before which he could sign the most important victory of his career. Because the Buenosairean faced six times in the past to players located in the number one of the ranking, but in none could win. This would be his first victory against a leader in the ATP ranks, andhe second unique event in his career that would come with the title in Rome.
He played four times against a ranking leader Rafael Nadal. Three of those matches were in 2018: in the round of 16 at the Australian Open; in the same instance of the Masters 1000 of Madrid; and in the Roland Garros quarters, in which the porteño made a great match against Rafa, in the tournament in which Spanish feels better. And he came across it again at the end of last year, in one of the games of the Davis Cup quarter-final series in Madrid, which Spain ended up taking 2-1.
The other two matches against a number one were with Djokovic. The first, in the first round of the Australian Open 2014; and the second, last year, in the semis in Rome.
If you talk about the top 10, Schwartzman has a record of 8 wins and 28 losses. The celebrations were achieved against Dominic Thiem (7th) in Montreal 2017 and Marin Cilic (7th) at the US Open, in 2017; Kevin Anderson (7th) at Roland Garros in 2018; again in front of Thiem (8th) in Buenos Aires, against Kei Nishikori (6th) in Rome, Alexander Zverev (6th) in Flushing Meadows and Karen Khachanov (9th) in Vienna, in 2019; and the great victory before Nadal (2nd) on Saturday, in the quarterfinals at the Foro Italico.
The third prize that the Small if he hits the ball this Monday against Djokovic it will be a place among the top ten in the world, a group he would reach for the first time.
The porteño, who is today in the 15th step (although due to his great performance in Rome he will climb at least to 13th), was very close to getting into that elite a couple of seasons ago. After reaching the quarterfinals at Roland Garros in 2018 and stealing a set in that match from Nadal, who ended up taking the victory 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 and 6-2, the Argentine climbed to 11th place of ATP classification. He remained in that position for six weeks, but after passing through Wimbledon, with a fall in the second round, he dropped to the 12th.
And although since then he has always remained in the top 30 of the ranking, he could never break the barrier of the top 10. Will he be given on the brick dust of Rome?
It will not be easy, because he will face a very tough opponent, whom he could never beat. But Small He arrives at a great level, with high confidence and with the motivation to have the chance to write the most successful chapter of his career at hand and to crown a magical week with a celebration in triplicate.