It’s been a tough couple of years for former world No 8 Diego “El Peque” Schwartzman, but the Argentinian had something to smile about after winning an incredibly up and down match against French youngster Luca van Assche in Shanghai on Thursday, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.
El Peque, who has starred at the last two UTS events, making the Final Four at UTS Frankfurt by Builder.ai most recently, looked down and out at the midway point of his opening round clash against van Assche at the Rolex Shanghai Masters.
After a tight opening set that van Assche won 7-5, the Frenchman quickly went up a break in the second set. Leading 1-0 and looking to consolidate his lead in the second set, it seemed as though van Assche was about to land the knockout blow on El Peque. That is, until the 31-year-old kicked into life.
Schwartzman comes back from a set and a break down to win
Staring down the barrel of a seventh consecutive defeat on the ATP Tour, Diego Schwartzman found a way to break Luca van Assche’s serve right back in the second set.
From here, the Argentinian was away, holding his own serve and going on to win the set 6-3. The errors began to flow from his opponent, with El Peque producing more of the same to win the third set 6-2 and claim his first main draw win on the ATP Tour since the first round of Wimbledon in July.
Despite being outhit eight aces to zero and 34 winners to 27, Schwartzman managed to come back from a set and a break down to win in Shanghai. He now sets a second round meeting against another young star, Jiri Lehecka, who received a bye in the first round.
While El Peque has not been faring so well on the ATP Tour, with his ranking dropping to No 130 in the world, the former world No 8 has been excellent in UTS this year. He recently topped Group B at UTS Frankfurt by Builder.ai, and is sitting No 3 in the race this season on 17 points, behind Andrey “Rublo” Rublev and Wu “The Great Wall” Yibing.