Diego Schwartzman, the second seed at the ‘Bett1HULKS Championship’ was on the verge of elimination from the Cologne event but rallied to reach the semi-finals, and then described the sport as being ‘crazy’.
He was playing perfect and the first two sets he deserved to win, for sure Diego Schwartzman
He beat the rising Spanish star Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 2-6 7-6 (3) 6-1 and should have been walking through the exit doors when trailing by a set and 5-2 down but with the ‘never-say-die’ attitude he is now famous for, rallied to to prevent his young opponent from serving out three times.
The diminutive Argentine ace levelled the match on the tie break and dominated the decider having deflated Davidovich-Fokina with his fighting spirit.
“Tennis sometimes is crazy,” Schwartzman, currently world-ranked nine having just broken into the top ten, said after the match.
“Maybe today I got lucky to be here answering questions. But that is why I am here as well with this ranking, because I am always trying to find a way to win the matches.
“Today was not the exception to the rule.”
He even went on to admit Davidovich-Fokina should have won in straight sets.
“I was trying really hard, but obviously he is a great player and the first two sets I was just on court trying to do something but there was no chance.
“He was playing perfect and the first two sets he deserved to win, for sure.”
Schwartzman, chasing his fourth career title, faces Canada’s rising star, Felix Auger-Alliasime, for a place in the final, the Canadian having eased past Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3 6-4.
Meanwhile, another rising star, Italy’s Jannik Sinner defeated the wily former world number six from France, Gilles Simon 6-3 0-6 6-4 to set up a semi-final meeting with the top seeded Alexander Zverev, who dispatched Adrian Mannarino of France, 6-2 6-7(5) 6-4.
“He didn’t give me any angles and played down the middle. He was very solid and I tried to play more on his forehand,” Sinner said of the seemingly erratic scoreline.
“Losing eight games [in a row] can happen, but next time I need to find a solution earlier. He played far better than me in the second set. I got a little emotional in the third set, but I wanted to show that I wanted to win”.