After coming tantalizingly close in Santiago a few months ago, Sebastian Baez claimed his first career ATP title Sunday in Estoril. After some battles during the week against Marin Cilic, Richard Gasquet, and Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Baez had a relatively comfortable final today against a clearly fatigued Frances Tiafoe. The American got an early break and a chance to go double break up, but after that it was one way traffic for the young Argentine.
Sebastian Baez defeats Frances Tiafoe 63 62
With this title, Baez reaches a new career high of #40 in the world and it seems like only a matter of time before he’s seeded at Grand Slams. It’s unlikely that is already the case at Roland Garros, since he’s not playing Madrid and is playing the qualifying in Rome. It remains to be seen whether Baez can turn himself into a contender at bigger clay events and improve on other surfaces, but there’s no question that he seems destined to at least be a mainstay at ATP level and consistently compete for titles on clay.
Tiafoe will also be happy with his week, despite a second final loss in Estoril. Just like Baez, he’ll achieve a new career high ranking of #25. He will be motivated going into Madrid, provided that his legs cooperate. Both Baez and Tiafoe really enjoy this event. Baez said after the match, “I talked with Frances in the locker room and we agreed that Estoril is one of the best tournaments on tour in terms of the crowd. The way they support us, the way they scream our names is special.”
It will certainly not be the last time we see both these players at this event. Tiafoe will be back to try and finally get his hands on the trophy, while Baez will surely return to the stage of his first taste of ATP glory. Next time they visit Estoril, both Baez and Tiafoe are likely to be much higher ranked than they are now as both their careers seem to be trending up at the moment.
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