ATP Estoril Final: Three Keys to the Match

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It’s been a fun week of tennis in Estoril, but we are down to two players battling for the title: Sebastian Baez and Frances Tiafoe.

Both players had to survive three-set battles to reach the final and now only have each other standing in the way of the Estoril winner’s trophy.

What are three factors that will help determine who wins this match? Read on to find out.

ATP Estoril Final: Three Keys to the Match

1. How Will the Players Hold up Physically?

While Tiafoe is currently in the final, it hasn’t been easy. He had to go three sets in every match this tournament, including playing around three hours both yesterday against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and today against Sebastian Korda. That’s a lot of tennis in a short period of time. The emotional energy of having to make massive comebacks in both matches could also take a toll for Tiafoe.

Meanwhile, Baez’s last three matches have gone three sets and he played an additional fourth match. But, he’s spent significantly less time on the court in the last three days, as his matches against Richard Gasquet and Albert Ramos didn’t run nearly as long as Tiafoe’s last two matches.

Baez should have more in the tank, but it will be interesting how the players hold up physically in this match.

2. Will Baez’s First Serve Success Continue?

Baez has been very good on his first serve this week, winning at least 67% of the points in all four of his matches, with two matches this week where Baez 74% of his first serves. In addition, Baez only got broken a combined five times in the four matches he’s played this week combined.

It’s also important to note that Baez’s first-serve percentage has been at least 67% in every match he’s played this week, as well.

Baez, standing at five foot, seven inches, is not known for being dominant on serve. It will be interesting, as the pressure of a first ATP Tour title mounts, whether or not Baez can continue this good serving form.

At the very least, if Baez becomes too nervous, his first-serve percentage could plummet and Tiafoe could take advantage.

3. How Will the Players’ Forehands Hold Up?

While Tiafoe has improved his forehand, he is still a bit rigid on that wing and it’s weaker than his backhand. Tiafoe will need to be solid from the forehand side in the final and not give away too many free points to Baez with forehand unforced errors.

Baez’s forehand is a bit hot-and-cold, where at times he’s able to control the baseline, while at other times he struggles with his consistency. I’ve seen in the past, when the moment gets too big, it’s Baez’s forehand wing that breaks down first.

With Baez’s first ATP Tour title at stake, I will be watching his forehand very closely.

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