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Tennis star Schwartzman reaches French Open quarterfinals, faces Nadal next

Jewish Argentinian 10th seed beats Germany’s Struff in straight sets; last year he was beaten by Spain’s 13-time champion in semis

Argentina's Diego Schwartzman celebrates after defeating Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff during their fourth round match on day 9, of the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, June 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Argentina's Diego Schwartzman celebrates after defeating Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff during their fourth round match on day 9, of the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, June 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Jewish Argentine tennis player Diego Schwartzman reached his third French Open quarterfinal on Monday with a 7-6 (11/9), 6-4, 7-5 win over Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.

The 10th seed will face 13-time champion Rafael Nadal for a place in the last four, after the latter beat Italian teenager Jannik Sinner.

Schwartzman was beaten by the Spaniard in last year’s semifinals.

Schwartzman saved seven set points in the first set as he rallied from a 5-1 deficit against the 42nd-ranked Struff, who had only once before made the fourth round at a major.

He let a 4-0 lead slip in the third set but held on to make his fifth Grand Slam quarterfinal.

Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman plays a return to Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff during their fourth round match on day 9, of the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, June 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

The 10th-ranked Schwartzman, 28, who at 5-foot-7 (170 centimeters) carries the nickname “El Peque” (Shorty), is immensely popular in his hometown Argentine Jewish community and undeniably the world’s best Jewish tennis player right now.

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.

Schwartzman won his hometown Argentina Open earlier this year for the first time.

He reached the final at the so-called Cathedral of Argentine tennis in 2019. As a child, he played at the Hacoaj JCC in the Argentine capital and helped inaugurate a sports team there earlier this year.

JTA contributed to this report.

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