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Diego Schwartzman defeats Brandon Nakashima to reach the semi-finals in Antwerp.

Schwartzman Seals SF Spot In Antwerp

Argentine reached finals in Antwerp in 2016 and 2017

Second seed Diego Schwartzman may only be 5' 7", but he produced a dominant serving performance that John Isner would have been proud of on Friday at the European Open to march into his second tour-level semi-final of the season.

The 29-year-old dropped just seven points on serve, moving past #NextGenATP American Brandon Nakashima 6-4, 6-2 in Antwerp.

The Argentine backed up his impressive straight-sets victory over Andy Murray in their first ATP Head2Head meeting with a controlled performance against the big-hitting qualifier, not facing a break point in the match as he hit with great depth to advance after one hour and 34 minutes.

“For me, the stats are very important,” Schwartzman said in his on-court interview. “I am not coming to the court thinking I am going to hit 10 aces. I have to do everything. I have to work, run and think for every single point. The opponent is going to play every shot and when I am returning well, everything is better for me.”

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With his victory, Schwartzman now leads Nakashima 1-0 in their ATP Head2Head series. The World No. 14 is aiming to win his second tour-level title of the season in Antwerp, having triumphed on home soil in Buenos Aires in March. The second seed has fond memories at the European Open, reaching the championship match in 2016 and 2017 and the semi-finals in 2018.

“It was tough because we have never played before,” Schwartzman said. “He is a big player, very young. He has reached two finals already this season. He is improving a lot and will be very tough to play in the future, so maybe better to play him now. 

“Here in Antwerp I am always feeling good, so being back in the semi-finals I am very happy. I really love the city and the people here, I have confidence on this court.”

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The Argentine arrived at the ATP 250 event in strong form, after advancing to quarter-finals in San Diego and Indian Wells earlier this month.

Nakashima, who was bidding to reach his third tour-level semi-final of the season, began the week eighth (686 points) in the ATP Race To Milan as he aims to make his debut at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals.

Schwartzman will next face World No. 70 Jenson Brooksby after the American downed Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-5, 6-0 in one hour and 44 minutes to reach his third tour-level semi-final of the season. 

With his victory, the 20-year-old has become the fifth player to qualify for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, to be played 9-13 November. Brooksby has enjoyed a breakthrough season, reaching his first tour-level final in Newport, before he advanced to the fourth round at a major for the first time at the US Open

"I have known about hopefully finishing with the Next Gen ATP Finals for a while now," Brooksby said. "With how I have been playing and getting better, I thought it would take care of itself. It is definitely exciting to confirm my spot there. It will be a great tournament to finish the year, but I am shooting for more.

"It has been a good year. After not getting to play last year, I think I have made a lot of big strides this year. I am proud of the progress I have made mentally, physically and all around."

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