Nadal out of Italian Open
Published: 07:02 PM, 20 September 2020
Clay court king Rafael Nadal crashed out in the quarter-finals of the Italian Open on Saturday, falling to a straight sets defeat to Argentine Diego Schwartzman. The Argentine won 6-2, 7-5 against the 'King of Clay' himself. Novak Djokovic also stumbled on the Roman clay but recovered to win through 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 against German qualifier Dominik Koepfer.
The defeasance of Nadal, the defending champion and nine-time winner, has prevented the possibility of a blockbuster showdown between Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the final in Rome.
It was the Nadal's final warm-up before his bid for a 13th French Open, and record-equalling 20th Grand Slam in just over a week.
"It was not my night at all. He played a great match, not me, when this happens you have to lose. "It's not a moment for excuses. I've spent a long time without competing, I played two good matches." said the 34-year-old Nadal.
Rafa had won all nine previous meetings against 28-year-old Schwartzman, but could not match his rival's stunning game on the red clay of the Foro Italico. The Spaniard made his comeback after a six-month coronavirus-enforced break having skipped the US Open.
Schwartzman next plays Canadian 12th seed Denis Shapovalov for a place in the final.
Meanwhile, Djokovic secured the last four by defeating German qualifier Dominik Koepfer through 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. The 33-year-old is going to head up to his 11th semi-final in Rome, where he reached the final nine times and won four titles.