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Nadal-Schwartzman, clash of friends at the US Open

Nadal-Schwartzman, clash of friends at the US Open

Rafael Nadal even joked that he would prohibit Diego Schwartzman from entering his academy in Manacor: “I will never invite him again, because he is fired,” said the number two who now crosses paths with his friend the ‘Peque’ in the US Open.

The Spanish and the Argentine meet for the eighth time in the quarterfinals of the last Grand Slam of the year, with the world number two as the clear favorite.

The last time they met was in Indian Wells in March with a comfortable victory for the Mallorcan (6-3, 6-1).

The ‘Peque’, who knows before the monster he is facing, said that that day he was not 100% – as now in Flushing Meadows, where he has shown excellent tennis – and assures that he has ever taken a set from Nadal .

“He is a great champion, I could not defeat him, sometimes in quotes I was close, I will try to enter with that confidence that I can defeat him like any other and try to do my best,” said Schwartzman, 27 years old and 21 in the world.

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Of the 19 sets they have played, two went to the Argentine, the first at the 2018 Australian Open and then at Roland Garros the same year.

Nadal, who has three Grand Slam titles, assumed a position of greater favor with the departure of defending champion Novak Djokovic, who left the tournament with a shoulder injury.

And in his passage through the tournament he has been solid, in the four games he has played so far, he lost only one set to his last rival, Marin Cilic, whom he later ended up striking.

But if Nadal does not show something is confidence, on the contrary, he considers Schwartzman “one of the most talented players on the tour” and respects “every aspect of his game.”

“He has incredible control, good speed, he has the ability to read shots very well and understand the game very well, I’m not surprised he’s there,” said Nadal. “He is an incredible player, and I will need to do my best to have a chance to advance to the semifinals, I think my game today helps.”

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– «You will no longer go to my academy» –

Schwartzman is the only South American alive at the US Open, beating the tournament’s sixth seed Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals.

At the end of the game, he was convinced that he would face the Italian Matteo Berrettini in the quarterfinals, but no… his turn is Rafa, his friend, with whom he has been training for years.

In June 2018, before his clash at Roland Garros, Nadal told reporters: “I am not going to invite him anymore, because he is flying off.”

And in September of that year, after snatching that set from him, Schwartzman recalled: “He said that after Paris, after the Roland Garros tournament this year. I was there last year before Paris, and I did great.

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«I played five sets with Novak and now this year it was the same again, but I lost against Rafa in four sets. I won the first set, so in the rest of the set, after the rain, he told me: you will no longer go to my academy, “he added with a laugh, according to press reports.

Schwartzman went to the Nadal Academy, which manages the player and his uncle Toni, after a losing streak on clay and the training paid off.

But the 1.70m from Buenos Aires is also a student of his rivals.

“I am very confident in my return, I try to study where my rivals serve at all times” to be able to anticipate. It is a task he will also do with Nadal, to see if he breaks that 7-0 streak and reaches the semifinal of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career. AFP

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