Eighth seed Diego Schwartzman kickstarted his Internazionali BNL d’Italia campaign on Thursday with a straight-sets victory over John Millman to reach the third round. The Argentine – a semi-finalist in Rome last year – needed two hours and 19 minutes to hold off the Australian, 6-4, 7-6(1).
Schwartzman saved a set point at 4-5 in the second set and turned it up a notch in the ensuing tie-break. He reeled off seven straight points to book a clash with either ninth seed Andrey Rublev or Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz.
The 28-year-old is one win from reaching his fourth straight clay-court quarter-final this season. He reached the final on home soil at the Cordoba Open in February and a week later, the semi-finals at the Argentina Open before a leg injury ruled him out of remaining South American events in Rio de Janeiro and Santiago.
Following a first-round exit at the US Open, he returned to clay last week when he fell to Laslo Djere in the quarter-finals of the Generali Open in Kitzbühel. In only his second appearance in Rome, Millman was coming off a straight-sets win over lucky loser Joao Sousa in the opening round.