Diego Schwartzman ended Andy Murray’s hopes of another Antwerp title with a straight-sets, second round win on Thursday, saying it was a “pleasure” to finally face the former world No 1.

Second seed Schwartzman carved out a 6-4, 7-6 (6) victory over the three-time Grand Slam title winner who won the last of his 46 career titles in the Belgian port city in 2019.

In the first round, the 34-year-old Scot, who has suffered career-threatening hip injuries, had saved two match points to pull off a 7-6 (2), 6-7 (9), 7-6 (8) victory over Frances Tiafoe. It had raised hopes of another deep run for the former world No 1.

Thursday’s meeting was the first time the two men had met on court despite both being on the tour for well over a decade.

“It was a pleasure to play against Andy,” 29-year-old Schwartzman, the runner-up in 2016 and 2017, said in his on-court interview.

“We had not played before and he is coming back and every week he is playing better and moving better.

“I have a lot of respect because when I grew up playing tennis, I was watching Roger, Rafa, Andy and Novak and right now playing against him, is a pleasure for me.”

Schwartzman will face either American Brandon Nakashima or Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland for a place in the semi-finals.

With AFP Inputs