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Schwartzman loses to Nadal in French Open semifinal

Argentinian Jewish tennis star is defeated by ‘King of Clay’ in straight sets, but is ranked in global top 10 for 1st time in career

Argentina's Diego Schwartzman plays a shot against Spain's Rafael Nadal in the semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Oct. 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Argentina's Diego Schwartzman plays a shot against Spain's Rafael Nadal in the semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Oct. 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

JTA — Diego Schwartzman put up a solid fight but ultimately couldn’t take down Rafael Nadal in his French Open semifinal match on Friday.

Still, Schwartzman’s best ever Grand Slam result will propel him into the top 10 in the rankings for the first time in his career. He will leave Roland Garros with a ranking of No. 8 in the world.

The Jewish tennis star lost to Nadal, the “King of Clay,” in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3, 7-6(0), ending a strong run at the postponed French Open.

Schwartzman, 28, who many believe is shorter than his listed height of 5-foot-7, is immensely popular in his hometown Argentine Jewish community and undeniably the world’s best Jewish tennis player right now.

Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates winning the semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament against Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman in three sets, 6-3, 6-3, 7-6, at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Oct. 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

But the highest ranking for a Jewish player in modern tennis goes to a fellow short Jew: American Harold Solomon, who reached a career-high of No. 5 in 1980.

Solomon, who stands at 5-foot-6, will always cheer on “El Peque” (which roughly translates to “Shorty”), as Schwartzman is nicknamed.

“I’m very intrigued watching [Schwartzman] and I’m always impressed. I root for him all the time,” Solomon told ATPTour.com ahead of Friday’s match. “He can say what he wants about being a little guy, but it’s not easy being a little guy in a big guy’s world.”

Schwartzman had beaten Nadal for the first time in his career at the recent Italian Open, a clay court precursor to the French Open.

“I know against Diego, it’s very difficult until the end. He’s one of the players who makes more breaks on the tour without a doubt,” Nadal said after Friday’s match. “I have been playing him a lot of times, but he’s getting better and better every time.”

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