Rome Masters 2019, Semifinals: Novak Djokovic vs Diego Schwartzman, Preview and Prediction
The two have faced off against one another twice in the past, with Djokovic winning both of those matches. However, if their last meeting which came in the 2017 French Open is an indicator, we may be in for an epic encounter. In that famous round of 32 match, the diminutive Argentine led by two sets to one before the Serbian stormed back to win the match in 5 sets.
But the Djokovic of the present is completely different from the one we witnessed the last time these two players met. He is on a three Slam win streak and fresh off a Masters victory in Madrid. He has also looked in imperious form in Rome so far.
After two easy wins in the first two rounds, he played one of the best matches of the season against Juan Martin del Potro, saving two match points to triumph in a three-set epic. It is matches such as these that have the potential to define one’s season.
A loss for Djokovic would have paved the way for Nadal to win the Rome Masters which would have also meant heading into the French Open as the favourite.
But the win over del Potro has given Djokovic a real shot at a possible final against Nadal and a win there would make him the favourite for the French Open for a change. However, before looking that far ahead, he needs to guard against complacency.
Schwartzman has been in terrific form in the Rome Masters, having won all his matches so far in straight sets, including a comfortable victory over Kei Nishikori. His win against the Japanese was especially impressive, considering he broke the sixth seed five times.
He will need to be similarly aggressive on the return against Djokovic, whilst also significantly improving his own serve.
Despite Schwartzman's fine run of form, Djokovic looks the overwhelming favourite and should come through this match.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic to win in Straight Sets.