Schwartzman sinks Nishikori

Diego Schwartzman advanced to his first Masters 1000 semi-final following a 6-4 6-2 victory over Kei Nishikori in the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Friday.

The Argentine player was quick out of the blocks, stunning Nishikori with some powerful shot making and precision hitting as he raced to a 5-0 lead in the opening set. The No. 6 seed had struggled to get going but with the end of the first set looming he began to find his range and earned his first break points in the sixth game. He went on a roll of his own over the next three games, turning the match around in remarkable fashion and bringing the score back on serve.

Schwartzman, who for so much of the first set could do no wrong, had begun to miss his shots but under pressure at 5-4 he regained his composure and took advantage of a couple of unforced errors from his opponent to secure the first set at the second time of asking.

The momentum returned to the world No. 24 in the second set as he proved too strong for the Japanese player, breaks in the sixth and eighth games ending his run in the Italian capital and sending Schwartzman into the final four at the Foro Italico for the first time.

“I think today I try to did every shot aggressive, also in the defense. But before when I played against Kei three times already: Buenos Aires, Madrid and US Open. Every single time was really tough, really close match. I won set in every match, so I felt the confidence to beat him,” said Schwartzman.

“Also yesterday he played too many hours, more than me. I will say thinking before the match trying to be aggressive and trying to get every chance he give me. I think I did well.”

Schwartzman will face either world No. 1 Novak Djokovic or countryman Juan Martin del Potro, who play their quarter-final match on Friday evening, in the semi-finals on Saturday.