Fixture: Diego Schwartzman vs Hubert Hurkacz
Date: 18 September 2020
Tournament: Italian Open 2020
Round: Third round (Round of 16)
Venue: Rome, Italy
Category: ATP Masters 1000
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €3,465,045
Match timing: 5.15 pm CEST, 8.45 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN | India - Sony Six
Diego Schwartzman vs Hubert Hurkacz preview
Diego Schwartzman faces off against Poland's Hubert Hurkacz for a place in the quarterfinals at the Rome Masters on Friday.
Having reached the final in Cordoba and the semifinal in Buenos Aires before the lockdown, Schwartzman has been unable to produce the same kind of form since the resumption of the tour. The Argentine lost in the second round of the Cincinnati Masters to Reilly Opelka, and in an even bigger shock he bowed out of the US Open in the first round against Cameron Norrie.
On clay too, the World No. 15 lost in his second match at Kitzbuhel against Laslo Djere despite being seeded second in the Austrian city. But he will come into the Round of 16 with a fair amount of confidence, after brushing past John Millman in straight sets on Thursday.
Schwartzman's third-round opponent, World No. 31 Hubert Hurkacz, is rather unexpected given the Pole's shock victory over ninth seed Andrey Rublev. The 7-6 3-6 6-2 win came after the Pole also defeated British No. 1 Dan Evans in the first round.
Hurkacz himself has blown hot and cold this year. Despite a few good wins, the Auckland semifinalist has been unable to establish himself on tour after early defeats at Cincinnati, US Open and Kitzbuhel.
Diego Schwartzman vs Hubert Hurkacz head-to-head
The meeting in Rome is the second between the two players, and Hubert Hurkacz currently leads the head-to-head 1-0 over Diego Schwartzman. Hurkacz prevailed over his opponent 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the ATP Cup match between Poland and Argentina earlier this year.
Diego Schwartzman vs Hubert Hurkacz prediction
Diego Schwartzman should have the edge in the third-round match on Thursday, given his superior ranking and experience. However, Hubert Hurkacz would be buzzing after his unexpected wins over Andrey Rublev and Dan Evans in the previous rounds.
Much of the Pole's game relies on his power and weight of shot from the back of the court. His well-balanced groundstrokes can push opponents deep behind the baseline, and produce tight angles for them to chase.
Schwarztman, however, does possess the movement to counter Hurkacz's efficiency from the baseline. The Argentine also has great timing and a wide variety of shots that can neutralize the firepower of players much taller than him.
If Schwartzman is able to maintain his form from the previous round, he should get over the finish line in what promises to be a tense, close encounter.
Prediction: Diego Schwartzman to win in three sets.