US Open 2019: Nadal into semis but Schwartzman no pushover

By Sports Desk September 04, 2019

Rafael Nadal overcame a spirited effort from Diego Schwartzman 6-4 7-5 6-2 to move within two wins of his 19th grand slam title at the US Open on Wednesday.

Nadal had effusively praised Schwartzman ahead of their quarter-final encounter at Flushing Meadows, telling a media conference he liked "everything" about the 20th seed's game.

He should now find plenty of people agreeing with that assessment after Schwartzman, who knocked out Alexander Zverev in a fourth-round result Nadal said did not surprise him, wiped out 4-0 and 5-1 leads for the number two seed in the first and second sets.

Where the diminutive Schwartzman came up short was in turning those fightbacks into turnarounds, with Nadal able to find his best when it counted in a victory that sets up a semi-final with Matteo Berrettini.

Nadal made a blistering start as he peppered the Schwartzman serve right from the off and broke when the Argentine sent a backhand into the net.

Those inside Arthur Ashe Stadium would have been forgiven for believing a rout was in the offing as he raced through the first four games in New York.

By the same token nobody would have expected the service game he subsequently dropped to be little more than a blip for Nadal, but it gave Schwartzman momentum and he completely erased the deficit with the help of a forehand into the tramlines from the second seed.

He then had a chance to break for a 5-4 lead but overhit a volley in what proved a costly error as Nadal held and then broke to take the set when Schwartzman could only return a backhand slice into the net.

The second set provided a sense of deja vu as Nadal again moved into a comfortable lead only to surrender it.

A forehand overhead at the end of a 14-shot rally gave Nadal a break for 3-1 and that advantage soon became 5-1 but again Schwartzman roared back.

Schwartzman brought the crowd to its feet with a marvellous forehand passing shot in the seventh game, which he took with a baseline winner to break back and start another run of four successive games.

Nadal stemmed the tide, though, and then went 40-0 up on the Schwartzman serve. Schwartzman was only able to save two of the three break points and the sense of inevitability at the end of the second sent supporters flooding out of the arena.

Schwartzman was defiant in the third but by that point he was only delaying Nadal's passage into the last four, and he finally buckled after lofting wide to give the three-time US Open champion a break he was never in danger of offering back.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Rafael Nadal [2] bt Diego Schwartzman [20] 6-4 7-5 6-2

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nadal – 35/39
Schwartzman – 26/37

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal – 5/1
Schwartzman – 4/3

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal – 7/13
Schwartzman – 4/10

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Nadal – 63
Schwartzman – 60

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Nadal – 70/50
Schwartzman – 58/46

TOTAL POINTS
Nadal – 100
Schwartzman - 83

Related items

  • Australian Open 2020: Changing of the guard 'inevitable' says Djokovic Australian Open 2020: Changing of the guard 'inevitable' says Djokovic

    Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic said a changing of the guard is "inevitable" as the next generation of tennis players close the gap on the "Big Three".

    Djokovic (16), Roger Federer (20) and Rafael Nadal (19) have dominated the ATP Tour circuit, combining for 55 grand slam titles and numerous other trophies.

    While Djokovic, Federer and Nadal continue to lead the way and set the standard despite their advancing years, the world number two knows the younger generation will soon have their day.

    As seven-time Australian Open champion Djokovic prepares for Monday's opener against Jan-Lennard Struff in Melbourne, the Serb star told reporters: "They're coming closer and closer. It's obvious.

    "[Daniil] Medvedev had a great fight with Rafa in the last Grand Slam in US Open of last season. [Stefanos] Tsitsipas played semis here last year. Dominic Thiem twice finals in French Open. They're very, very close. They're literally one set away. On a given day, in the very near future, I think that can happen. It's going to happen. It's inevitable.

    "What they're missing? I don't think they are missing too much, to be honest. I think they possess very powerful games that require a lot of skills, and they have those skills. They have put in the hours and dedicated themselves on and off the court. I think a lot of those next generation players working very hard, being very professional. That's a good sign because that's one of the precursors.

    "But at the same time to win a slam and also to kind of be consistently on the top level for many years, it takes I think a player to gain that mental and emotional maturity and experience to understand his own strengths, to kind of fight his own fears, to really be able to maintain that level for a long time. Rafa, Roger, and I, obviously because of the past 10,15 years, we know what we need to do mentally also in this particular situation. That gives us probably a little bit of an edge.

    "Everything has to kind of intertwine and everything has to be, I guess, in balance. When I say 'everything' I mean mental, physical, emotional. Then of course you need to have luck on that day and for the stars to align to win a Grand Slam trophy. They're very close. I don't think that's miles, miles away maybe as it was some years ago. I think they are definitely hungry. They are challenging. They're knocking on the door."

    Djokovic heads into his title defence on the back of a memorable but gruelling ATP Cup campaign in Australia as Serbia triumphed.

    On his preparations, the second seed added: "I did not have such an intensive couple of weeks the year before the Australian Open for many years. I did have participation in Doha tournament, Hopman Cup before, everything.

    "It was a lot of physical and emotional energy being spent in the ATP Cup… We as a team won the title, which was definitely one of the highlights of my career. It was phenomenal couple of weeks and great lead up to Australian Open. But it did take a lot out of me. I did adjust my training sessions towards that, so I had a little bit more of recuperation rather than just stepping on accelerator a little bit more."

  • Australian Open 2020: Barty grounded amid heightened expectations in pursuit of home slam Australian Open 2020: Barty grounded amid heightened expectations in pursuit of home slam

    After a quarter-final run at the 2019 Australian Open, a lot has changed for Ashleigh Barty but it is business as usual for the world number one in Melbourne.

    Australian star Barty arrives at Melbourne Park for her home grand slam as the WTA Tour's top-ranked player and the reigning French Open and WTA Finals champion.

    Barty became the first Australian to win the Roland Garros singles title since Margaret Court in 1973 and the first Australian to claim a major singles title since Sam Stosur's 2011 US Open triumph.

    Her memorable 2019 exploits have heightened expectations in Melbourne, where all eyes are on the top seed ahead of her opening match against Lesia Tsurenko.

    However, Barty's coach Craig Tyzzer told Omnisport: "There's more expectations on her, but she knows she has to go out there and compete every day, do her best. The result takes care of itself. If she's able to do that and keep focused on that stuff, she'll do some damage."

    "The pre-season was pretty strong," Tyzzer said. "Ash put a lot of effort it. She's particularly fussy and a bit of a perfectionist anyway, so it kept her on edge a bit more knowing 'okay well I've got a responsibility here as well'.

    "It's been good. We know what's coming but we will treat everything pretty much the same with regard to how we approach her matches."

    "Slams are so hard to win over the two weeks, being healthy and playing well all the time," he continued. "Her expectations are that every match is going to be tough. She's pretty ready for the battle, and hopefully she can go deep into the tournament."

    Barty is fresh off a 57-13 season on the WTA Tour – a year which yielded four titles from six finals in Miami, Paris, Birmingham and Shenzhen.

    The 23-year-old claimed the biggest winner's cheque in tennis history after collecting $4.42million thanks to her WTA Finals victory over Elina Svitolina in November.

    "I think her consistent level of play," Tyzzer said when asked about anything specific that helped Barty make such an impact last year. "There weren't many ups or downs. There weren't really super highs or big drop offs. I felt like over the 12 months her level was very consistent.

    "There were a few times where she was tired after long periods of time. We could see that kind of stuff coming, so we controlled that fairly well with breaks and then build up again to the next tournament block. Her ability to play at a good level throughout the whole year was probably the biggest factor, I know there were other areas."

    Barty's success saw Tyzzer – who has worked with the Queenslander since she returned to the sport in 2016 after a cricket stint – recognised as the WTA Coach of the Year.

    But Tyzzer and countrywoman Barty are refusing to stand still in pursuit of further glory.

    "There's certainly areas where she can get better. We've been working through the summer on her transitioning, try to get into the net more and get in behind her good shots. She sees it well in doubles but probably doesn't see it as well in singles yet. So that's probably one of the areas I'd like her to spend time on," he added.

    "You can never sit still in the sport. If you sort of stop and feel like you've done everything and you're not going to improve then someone else is going to run over the top of you pretty quickly."

    "We're doing a lot more work on her strength and speed, movement around the court," Tyzzer said. "Putting in a lot of time on returning, trying to make that better as well. As a coach, you're always looking for improvements, but you also have to acknowledge the good stuff and continue to encourage what she's done well. She's put good results together, so you don't want to make drastic changes just for the sake of changing.  You have to be careful with that stuff too."

  • Australian Open 2020: The best Opta facts ahead of the year's first grand slam Australian Open 2020: The best Opta facts ahead of the year's first grand slam

    The 108th edition of the Australian Open begins on Monday as the world's best tennis players battle it out at the first grand slam of 2020.

    Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka will return to defend the titles they won last year, adding to the event's storied history.

    The pair will face stiff competition from stacked fields in the men's and women's draw as a host of players seek glory in Melbourne.

    To whet your appetite for the forthcoming feast of tennis, here is a selection of the best Opta facts related to the Australian Open.

     

    - The last three years have seen the 12 women's grand slam tournaments being won by 10 different players; only Simona Halep and Osaka have won twice in that span.

    - Djokovic won his seventh Australian Open title in 2019, the most of any male player in the history of the tournament. He has won the event every time he has reached the semi-finals.

    - Of the last 14 editions of the Australian Open, 12 have been won by either Djokovic (7) or Roger Federer (5) – Rafael Nadal (2009) and Stan Wawrinka (2014) are the only other winners in that period.

    - Victoria Azarenka (2012, 2013), Serena Williams (2009, 2010) and Jennifer Capriati (2001, 2002) are the only women to have won successive titles at the Australian Open since 2000.

    - Federer won his sixth Australian Open title in 2018, 14 years after his first win at the event; no player has won multiple Australian Open titles over a longer period in the Open Era. It is his last win in a grand slam tournament to date.

    - Since 2005 only Williams (2010, 2015) and Azarenka (2013) have won the title at the Australian Open as the number one ranked player in the world.

    - Williams has not won any of the last 11 grand slams, with her last victory coming at the Australian Open in 2017 when she was pregnant – this is the American's longest span without a major title.

    - Petra Kvitova lost in the final of the Australian Open last year, the only time she went further than the quarter-finals in her last 19 grand slam appearances, since winning Wimbledon in 2014.

    - Either Nadal or Andy Murray has been the runner-up in nine of the last 10 Australian Open men's finals, Murray losing five times and Nadal four. Marin Cilic in 2018 is the only other player to lose an Australian Open final in that span.

    - The last time an Australian made it to the men's final at the Australian Open was Lleyton Hewitt in 2005 and the last Australian to win the title was Mark Edmondson in 1976 (against fellow Australian John Newcombe).

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.