‘Diego is capable of playing better’

‘Diego is capable of playing better’

PARIS • Diego Schwartzman had designs on reaching next weekend’s season-ending ATP Finals for the first time.

To book his berth in London, the world No. 9 had to beat Daniil Medvedev yesterday or hope that Pablo Carreno Busta failed in his attempt to win the Paris Masters – the Spaniard’s quarter-final with second-ranked compatriot Rafael Nadal was not over by press time.

The Argentinian, however, could not get one over his bogey opponent, suffering his fourth defeat in as many games as the fifth-ranked Russian comfortably won 6-3, 6-1 to move into the last four of the Paris Masters at the Bercy Arena today.

Medvedev, who secured his place in London back in September and will be making his second straight appearance, took just 63 minutes to beat Schwartzman.

By doing so, he will also overtake 20-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer of Switzerland as world No. 4 on Monday.

The 24-year-old, who has two Masters 1000 titles under his belt, has yet to win an ATP title this year. But having reached his second semi-final of the coronavirus-disrupted season, he is coming into form at the right time.

Medvedev, whose seven ATP titles have all come on hard courts, broke his opponent’s serve in the third game and never looked back, while Schwartzman never looked like mounting a comeback, winning just one of 28 points on Medvedev’s first serve.

Claiming that he “kept his level high”, the 2019 US Open finalist told reporters: “It was a good match but Diego is capable of playing better. He did not show his best tennis… he did some errors, allowing me to take control. It was good for me that I managed to win in such a short time against someone who serves well.

“It’s good that I’ve went so far here already. It’s good preparation for London. The conditions are quite similar, no spectators unfortunately, it’s kind of dark.

“With spectators, the court is lit up. Here with no spectators, it feels strange but I’m getting used to it and I’m showing some good tennis.

“I prefer with spectators because it’s really fun and the tennis court is a scene with everyone watching, making indoor tournaments really cool.”

Both the Paris Masters and the ATP Tour Finals are being held behind closed doors because of the coronavirus pandemic.