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Nadal suffers shock loss in Paris tuneup

China Daily | Updated: 2020-09-21 09:49
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Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts during his quarter final match against Argentina's Diego Schwartzman at the Italian Open in Rome, Italy, Sept 19, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

Rafael Nadal's first tournament in seven months ended with a 6-2, 7-5 loss to Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open on Saturday.

Nadal, a nine-time champion in Rome, had never lost to 15th-ranked Schwartzman in nine previous meetings. But Schwartzman dictated the baseline rallies and produced a series of drop-shot winners as Nadal uncharacteristically made unforced errors and struggled to get his first serve into play.

Nadal, who chose not to play the US Open due to travel concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic, now has one week to regroup before he attempts to win a record-extending 13th French Open title in Paris. Roland Garros starts this weekend.

"It's a completely special and unpredictable year," said the 34-year-old Nadal. "I fought until the end. But losing that many serves, you can't expect to win a match. Something that I have to fix. I know how to do it."

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