The Best of the Day preview rips a forehand down the line with tennis tips for an Italian Open showdown between Diego Schwartzman and John Millman.
19:00 (AEST) @ Foro Italico, Rome
History: Played 1: Millman 1 V Schwartzman 0
Last meeting: Australian Open, 2016 (R128): Millman d Schwartzman 3-6 5-7 7-6 5-0 ret
Final thoughts: The tennis world is still catching its breath from the US Open. But with the French Open just around the corner, the truncated clay-court season is in full swing. The Best of the Day preview breaks down popular Aussie John Millman’s second-round clash with Diego Schwartzman at the Italian Open.
Mixed fortunes for Aussies in @InteBNLdItalia action overnight …
✅ John Millman
✅ John Peers
❎ Alex de Minaurhttps://t.co/8OfKaG3IU8
— TennisAustralia (@TennisAustralia) September 15, 2020
The 31-year-old Millman has been in solid form since the ATP Tour’s resumption. He beat Adrian Mannarino before going down to John Isner in a lengthy three-setter at the Cincinnati Masters.
Millman crushed 22nd seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round of the US Open. He led Frances Tiafoe two sets to one in the second round but lost in five.
Last week he was edged in a third set tie-break by compatriot Jordan Thompson at the Austrian Open. The world No.43 outlasted Joao Sousa 7-5 7-6 in his first Italian Open assignment.
Two fighters giving it their all …
— TennisAustralia (@TennisAustralia) September 9, 2020
Millman will be eager for a strong showing in Rome ahead of his bid for a maiden French Open match win. He has dipped in the first round of all five of his previous Roland Garros forays.
Argentine Schwartzman is the Italian Open eighth seed, earning passage directly to the Round of 32.
But the world No.13 needs to build some confidence and momentum ahead of the French Open. After the restart, he lost to Reilly Opelka in the second round of the Cincinnati Masters, crashed out in the first round of the US Open despite winning the first two sets against Cameron Norrie, and was upset by Laslo Dere at the Austrian Open.
Surviving in 🖐️@cam_norrie shocks 9th seed Diego Schwartzman after rallying from 2 sets down 😮
— ATP Tour (@atptour) August 31, 2020
Schwartzman is a clay specialist. Two of his three ATP titles were on the surface, as were all seven of his Challenger titles. He was a French Open quarter-finalist in 2018.
The pair have met just once, in the opening round of the 2016 Australian Open. Millman clawed back from a two-set deficit before Schwartzman retired deep in the fourth set.
Reputation and past performances sees the out-of-sorts Schwartzman head in as a $1.34 favourite. But the gritty Millman has shown enough in recent weeks to take a Best of the Day chance on as juicy outsider.