Argentine Jewish tennis star Diego Schwartzman lost in a surprising upset to Russian Aslan Karatsev in the third round of the Australian Open, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.
At last year’s Australian Open, Schwartzman lost in the fourth round to eventual winner Novak Djokovic.
Schwartzman, who entered the top 10 for the first time in his career this past fall and played in last year’s ATP Finals, was seeded 8 at the grand slam tournament. He was expected to win over Karatsev, a 27-year-old qualifier who was playing his first Grand Slam main draw.
Schwartzman was 9-0 against qualifiers in Grand Slam matches until the match against Karatsev, and Karatsev, ranked 114, becomes only the fifth qualifier in 21 years to make it to a Grand Slam fourth round.
“He was playing amazing tennis,” Schwartzman said after the match. “I didn’t serve well [and] maybe that was one of the keys in the match, because he was really comfortable [hitting] returns… He was doing everything really well, moving well, hitting well, and I was not really comfortable in the match. I think he deserved to win.”
In Schwartzman’s last Grand Slam appearance, he was a semifinalist in the French Open, where he became the shortest man to reach a Grand Slam semis since Jewish tennis player Harold Solomon in 1980.
Schwartzman, who doesn’t shy away from expressing his Jewish identity, most recently helped launch a professional esports team headquartered at Argentina’s largest Jewish sports center.