Argentinian wildcard and UTS legend Diego “El Peque” Schwartzman reached the last 16 of the Shanghai Masters by edging out his UTS rival, American Taylor “The Hotshot” Fritz, the No 7 seed, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (5) at the Qi Zhong Stadium on Monday night.
The former world No 8 came from 5-3 down in the decider to clinch his best win by ranking this year, earning bragging rights over his fellow UTS competitor, as well as his first top 10 win since 2022.
El Peque, who has starred at the last two UTS events, making the Final Four at UTS Frankfurt by Builder.ai most recently, looked set to be heading out of the tournament as he found himself facing The Hotshot’s red-hot serve at 5-3 down. Somehow, El Peque managed to turn it around in time, breaking the American’s serve to take the all-UTS clash into a final-set tiebreak at the Rolex Shanghai Masters.
From there, El Peque showed all his trademark fighting ability to take the breaker 7-5 and cause a huge upset in Shanghai by knocking out his UTS rival.
It is a remarkable turnaround in form for El Peque, who lost six consecutive matches prior to the 1000-level tournament in Shanghai this week.
He has now put together an impressive string of wins, having beaten Van Assche in the opening round, before knocing out talented youngster Jiri Lehecka and then taking down The Hotshot in round three.
While El Peque has been struggling on the ATP Tour this year, with his ranking dropping to No 130 in the world, the former world No 8 has been brilliant at 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.