ATP Vienna: Diego Schwartzman vs Frances Tiafoe Preview

Diego Schwartzman in action ahead of the ATP San Diego Open.
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23-year-old American Frances Tiafoe was down and out in the deciding set, trailing by three games to love against Stefanos Tsitsipas in Vienna on Thursday. But the young American wasn’t ready to throw in the towel yet. He turned the match on its head as he upset the No.1 seed to book a spot in the quarterfinal.

The young Greek was relentless in the first set. But a mix of double faults at the crucial moments, a drop in his intensity, and Tiafoe’s adrenaline rush saw Tsitsipas lose the next two sets as he crumbled 6-3 3-6 4-6 in one hour and 50 minutes. Tiafoe’s aggressive approach was the feature of his remarkable win over the top seed.

This is not the first time Tiafoe got the better of Tsitsipas this year. The American also beat Tsitsipas in straight sets in their opener at Wimbledon.

While Tiafoe ended up on the wrong side in his tight, three-set clash against Andy Murray in Antwerp last week, he will find a lot of satisfaction and can draw lots of positives from his sensational win over Tsistsipas as he prepares to lock horns against Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinal on Friday.

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Diego Schwartzman vs Frances Tiafoe

The Antwerp runner-up, Schwartzman, prevailed against exuberant Frenchman Gael Monfils 7-6(5) 4-6 6-2 in their intriguing Round of 16 clash that lasted over two and half hours on Center Court. Monfils and Schwartzman fought toe-to-toe in the first two sets. However, the Argentine’s consistency was a little too much for the Frenchman to handle as he lost four games in a row in the deciding set to hand Schwartzman a memorable victory. Schwartzman will need to maintain the same level of consistency against a tricky and unpredictable opponent like Tiafoe.

Schwartzman leads Tiafoe 2-0 in their head-head record so far on the ATP tour. In their most recent encounter, the Argentine prevailed 6-1 4-6 6-4 on hard courts at the Cincinnati Masters.

While Schwartzman has a decent record on hard courts, it is not his most favored surface. Fast and lively indoor conditions in Vienna are expected to suit an upbeat Tiafoe better than the Argentine.

After rising to a career-high ranking of No.8 on the back of a memorable season on clay last year, the Argentine has shown indifferent form this year. Nonetheless, his run to the final in Antwerp and his notable win over Monfils should give him confidence against Tiafoe as he hopes to resurrect his off-color season. He is not in contention of securing a spot at the ATP Finals. That can be liberating in a way as he can compete with absolute freedom, making him a dangerous player for any opponent, let alone Tiafoe.

On the other hand, Tiafoe will likely be on a high following his sensational win over the Greek. He should ride on that confidence and self-belief against Schwartzman.

Schwartzman appears to be a whole different player when he serves well. The Argentine cannot afford to offer Tiafoe any free points, at least on his service games, if he wishes to tame the young American–the lesson that Tsitsipas learned the hard way on Thursday.

A qualifier in Vienna, Tiafoe has spent much more time on the court than his opponent. That might work against him as he takes on Schwartzman, who won’t mind grinding all day long if he must.

Schwartzman is much more organized in his approach, while the young American is like the rush of fresh blood, exuberant and flamboyant. This contrast in styles spices up the contest and has the potential to thoroughly entertain the crowds in Vienna.

Can Schwartzman fend off Tiafoe’s exuberance to reach his second Vienna semifinal? Or will the young American stun Schwartzman to add another scalp to his list of memorable wins this week?

A captivating and engrossing contest awaits us on Friday as Schwartzman and Tiafoe face-off to seal a semifinal berth in the Austrian capital.

Main Photo from Getty.