Diego Schwartzman already signed the best performance in his career at the Masters 1000 de Indian Wells, by getting into the round of 16 with his victory against the Briton Daniel Evans. But the Argentine, 15th in the ranking, wants more and this Wednesday -at 15 in our country, with ESPN2 television- he will look for a place in the quarterfinals against the Norwegian Casper Ruud, number ten in the world.
A victory would also allow the Small, 11th seed of the Californian tournament, cut a two-year negative streak without victories on hard courts against players located in the top 20. The last was achieved in the semis of Vienna 2019 against Gael Monfils, then 14th in the classification.
Since then, he has fallen thirteen in a row against opponents of that group on these surfaces. He suffered the last one just eleven days ago, in the ATP quarters in San Diego, against the Russian Andrey Rublev, number five.
Now he will seek to cut that drought against Ruud, one of the most winning players of the season -49 victories and five titles- and who won the two games they played this year, in the second round of Monte Carlo, in April, and in the eighth from Cincinnati in late August. Although the Argentine leads the history of confrontations 4-2.
In his opening games at Indian Wells, Schwartzman showed great mental strength to come back from two tough games. In the debut against the American Maxime Cressy (145th), raised two match points against in the third set (5-4 and 40-15) and ended up winning 6-2, 3-6 and 7-5. And in the third round, he reacted after giving up the first set and starting the second 1-3, and beat Evans (22nd) 5-7, 6-4 and 6-0.
Ruud, meanwhile, defeated 6-1 and 6-2 in his first presentation to Spanish Roberto Carballes Baena (85 °) and by 6-7 (4-7), 6-4 and 6-4 to the South African Lloyd Harris (31 °) in the second.
The contest celebrates its first edition in the autumn of the northern hemisphere, after having had to move from its usual March date due to the coronavirus pandemic, which had forced it to be canceled in 2020, and has a large absentee table.
None of his five former champions are still active is contesting it. The Swiss Roger Federer, the Spanish Rafael Nadal, the Argentine Juan Martín del Potro and the Austrian Dominic Thiem, all injured, plus the Serbian Novak Djokovic, world number one who decided to rest after having lost the final of the US Open last month .
The top seed is Russian Daniil Medvedev, world number two and recent champion in New York, who will play after Peque’s match against Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, 23rd seeded, in the most outstanding match of the day.