Cerundolo gets the better of Baez to win Bastad tennis title

Bastad (Sweden), July 18 ( Surprise Sports Desk) Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo capped an impressive week at the Nordea Open here with a top-quality 7-6(4), 6-2 win against countryman Sebastian Baez to win his maiden ATP Tour title.

The 23-year-old will rise to career-high No. 30 when the ATP rankings are released later on Monday.

Displaying plenty of clean baseline hitting, and raising his level at key moments, Cerundolo recovered from dropping serve in the opening game of the match to seal his fourth straight-sets win in five matches this week to triumph at the ATP 250 event.

Cerundolo’s clash with eighth-seeded Baez was his second ATP Tour final, after he won just three games against another Argentine, Diego Schwartzman, in Buenos Aires in 2021.

“It feels amazing,” Cerundolo was quoted as saying by atptour.com. “First of all, I want to congratulate Sebastian (Baez), not just for this week. You’ve been playing amazing since last year.

“(Winning the title) means a lot. Since you are a child you imagine yourself playing in these events and finals. When I lost in Buenos Aires I was sad, because I was at home and I lost badly, but I learned a lot from that. I used it today, and I think I played a great match, a great week,” he said.

Cerundolo had cracked the top-100 of the ATP Rankings for the first time in February after runs to the quarterfinals in Buenos Aires and the semifinals in Rio de Janeiro, before reaching a maiden ATP Masters 1000 semifinal in Miami in March.

His victory against Baez is set to lift Cerundolo into the top-30 of the ATP Rankings for the first time on Monday. The Argentine upset Casper Ruud in three sets for his first top-10 win in the second round in Bastad, while he also defeated Pedro Sousa, Aslan Karatsev, and Pablo Carreno Busta to set a final clash with Baez.

“I think Francisco was better than me today, so congrats to him and his team too,” said Baez, who lifted his own maiden tour-level trophy in Estoril in May.

“Tennis is one part of life, and I think we have to enjoy it when we lose and when we win. The little things, we have to enjoy every time, so I enjoyed this week and I hope that next week will be better.”

— Surprise Sports Desk

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