Schwartzman Sets Up Thiem Showdown In Barcelona

Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman set up a second-round meeting against third seed Dominic Thiem on Monday at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. The 26-year-old Schwartzman overcame an up-and-down performance that included 53 unforced errors to beat Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Nishioka, who hit 16 winners to 42 unforced errors, struggled with cramps as the two-hour and 19-minute match finished. Schwartzman was playing his third match in Barcelona after having to qualify because the Argentine, No. 25 in the ATP Rankings, forgot to sign up before the tournament deadline.

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He trails Thiem 2-3 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, although Schwartzman has won their past two matchups, including earlier this year 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(5) at the Argentina Open in February.

Home favourites went 2-2 on day one in Barcelona. Jaume Munar ran away with his first-rounder against Portuguese qualifier Pedro Sousa 2-6, 6-4, 6-0, and will next meet #NextGenATP American and 14thseed Frances Tiafoe. Both players competed at the 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.

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In an all-Spanish battle, 2010 champion Fernando Verdasco beat wild card Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 6-3. Verdasco, the only former champion in the draw besides Rafael Nadal and Kei Nishikori, will next meet 13thseed Grigor Dimitrov.

Chilean lucky loser Nicolas Jarry gained revenge against Spain’s Marcel Granollers 7-5, 4-6, 6-4. Granollers had beaten Jarry in three sets in the final round of qualifying. The 23-year-old Jarry will next meet second seed Alexander Zverev of Germany.

Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer will face top seed and 11-time champion Rafael Nadal. Mayer outplayed Romanian Marius Copil 6-3, 6-7(3), 7-5 to advance.

American Taylor Fritz will face Nishikori for the second time in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series on Tuesday (Nishikori leads 1-0). Fritz ousted friend and compatriot Reilly Opelka 6-3, 6-4.

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