ATP Antwerp: Diego Schwartzman knocks out seventh seed Nicolas Mahut in straight sets

In their first ever meeting, Diego Schwartzman came out on top 7-6(2), 7-5 to book his place in the second round of the European Open in Antwerp, Belgium.

ATP Antwerp: Diego Schwartzman knocks out seventh seed Nicolas Mahut in straight sets
Diego Schwartzman in action at the Chengdu Open (Photo: Zhong Zhi/Getty Images)
Diego Schwartzman
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Nicolas Mahut

In the opening round of the inaugural European Open, Diego Schwartzman upset seventh seed Nicolas Mahut 7-6(2), 7-5 to progress to the second round. He will face either Taylor Fritz or wildcard Joris De Loore.

Schwartzman comes from a break down to win set via tiebreaker

It was Mahut who started the better of the two players. A slice dropshot at deuce presented the Frenchman with the match's first break point. A forehand error from the Argentine gave Mahut the break. A couple of errors from the racket of Mahut then gave Schwartzman two break points.

Following a lengthy exchange, the world number 77 hit a backhand crosscourt passing shot to break immediately back before going on to consolidate to bring the set level at 3-3. Schwartzman continued to turn the game around and two games later, he earnt a break point after a stretching Mahut failed to run down a forehand placed in the corner of the court.

Diego Schwartzman hirs a backhand shot (Photo: Zhong Zhi/Getty Images)
Diego Schwartzman hirs a backhand shot (Photo: Zhong Zhi/Getty Images)

The 24-year-old broke in the next game after attacking Mahut and finishing the point with a dropshot. Serving for the set at 5-4, Schwartzman brought up a set point, however, he netted a forehand. After defending a succession of forehands, Mahut then attacked the Argentine, hit a backhand down the line to bring up a break back point.

An unforced error from Schwartzman brought the game to 5-5. From then on in both players held serve to set up a tiebreaker. A backhand error from the Frenchman gave Schwartzman five chances to win the set. Mahut only managed to save one set point before netting a backhand to surrender the breaker 7-2 and the set, 7-6(2). 

Schwartzman grabs late break to seal victory

The Argentine put Mahut under pressure from the off. He hit two winners including a passing shot to bring up a break point. Following the first real long rally of the set, Schwartzman came out on top and broke the Frenchman to go 2-0 up. But Mahut fought back, raced away to a love-40 lead, broke and then held to love the next game to bring the set level at 2-2. From then on in, both players started to get comfortable on serve as the set moved to 4-4.

The 24-year-old was being put under all kinds of pressure in the fifth game by Mahut but overcame it by serving and volleying his way out of trouble to edge out infront at 5-4. Just a few games later, it was the Frenchman's turn to be put under pressure. Down 6-5, after a mini exchange at the baseline, the world number 40 attempted backhand shot hit the net which gave a first match point to Schwartzman. The Frenchman couldn't deal with the pressure and after a  second backhand error in a row, it was Schwartzman who grabbed victory and won in their first-ever meeting.