Schwartzman dumps sixth-seed Nishikori in Rome

Diego Schwartzman defeated Japan’s Kei Nishikori to advance into the Italian Open semi-finals. (AFP pic)

ROME: Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman cruised past Japan’s Kei Nishikori in straight sets to advance to the Italian Open semi-finals on Thursday.

Schwartzman, 26, won 6-4, 6-2 in 87 minutes in the quarter-final for his first win against former US Open finalist Nishikori, the sixth seed, in Rome.

The 24th-ranked one-time French Open quarter-finalist has not dropped a set so far on the red clay of the Foro Italico and next faces either world number one Novak Djokovic or compatriot Juan Martin del Potro for a place in the final.

World number seven Nishikori paid for a string of unforced errors, with 28 in total, double that of Schwartzman.

This year’s French Open gets underway on May 26 in Roland Garros.