Sebastian Baez debuted his number one status in Argentine tennis with a hard-fought celebration on his debut at the Estoril ATP 250, one of the competitions that inaugurated brick dust’s European tour this Monday, which will end at Roland Garros. On an almost perfect day for Albiceleste rackets – two wins and one defeat – the buenosareo, 32nd in the world and champion of the last edition, won 7-5, 7-6 (7-3) against the Moldovan Radu Albot106th in the standings, and reached the round of 16.
Pedro Cachin67th, also advanced to the second round, defeating the Taiwanese 6-4, 6-4 Chun Hsin Tseng, 145°. While, diego schwartzmann36th, he lost 6-3 and 7-6 (10-8) with the Italian Mark Cecchino96th, and extended his weak momentum.
Báez, 22, found himself with many complications to take the first step towards defending his title, not only due to the good game played by his rival, but also due to some discomfort he suffered in his left leg. In the same way, he was able to carry on a complicated match, in which he served with a score of 2-5 conceded in the second set and which ended up closing in two hours and 13 minutes.
“The first game on slow pitches is always tough,” said Sebas. “Albot was close. I know him, he’s an experienced player … To take the win I had to be strong in the difficult moments, because obviously there’s pressure for me as defending champion.”
The San Martín-born man, who just lost in the second round in Miami, became the highest-ranked Argentine on Monday, climbing to 32nd in the standings and overtaking Francis Cerundolo. The porteño dropped to 33 after having a bye in the quarterfinals of the Florida tournament and failing to match his performance from last year (the semifinals).
Báez was crowned just over twelve months ago in Estoril by beating the American in the final Frances Tiafoe, to add his first trophy on the top circuit in men’s tennis. In early February, at Cordobahe got the second by winning the decider against Frederick Coria.
He will be the next rival of the fifth-seeded Buenos Aires player cachin. The 27-year-old from Cordoba got through the first round of the Portuguese tournament with much more comfort, with a solid victory against Tseng, in a match that lasted one hour and 36 minutes.
The native of Bell Ville – who in his time at the US cement Masters 1000 celebrated his first victory in that category (in Indian Wells)- Last week in Girona he played a challenger on brick dust (lost in the quarterfinals), so he arrived with some experience on this surface.
It will be the first duel between Báez and Cachín. The winner could meet the Norwegian in the quarterfinals Casper Ruudbig favorite, who will first have to overcome a duel against the Italian Julius Zeppieri or Portuguese João Sousa.
New setback for Schwartzman
The bad news of the day was the fall of diego schwartzmann, which has extended a worrying negative streak. He smallseeded seventh, he lost in straight sets to Cecchinato and added another defeat, the fifth in 2023 on clay, a surface he felt very good on – in 2020 he beat Rafael Nadal in Rome and was a semifinalist in Roland Garros-, but in which he has not yet managed to win this season.
The blue took possession of the first set without too much effort, after 37 minutes. But the porteño raised the level in the second and, with a lot of grit, gave battle to his rival. He was broken down twice (1-2 and 5-6), but recovered serve both times and was close to forcing the third set. Is that he got to 5-2 in the tie-break of the second, but the European was stronger at the end of the tie-break and ended up celebrating.
Schwartzman accumulates just three wins this season (in Australia, Indian wells AND You love me) and nine falls. He hasn’t won two games in a row since US Open of the last year. And in brick dust, his last celebration was almost nine months ago in July at… enoughwhere he defeated Elias Ymer in his debut and subsequently fell to Pedro Carreño Busta.
same, the small He doesn’t give up and continues to look for a way to overturn his bad moment and rediscover his best tennis, the one that led him to occupy the eighth step of the rankings in 2020. He will be able to take advantage of this round of slow courts to recover the good sensations?
Jason Root is the go-to source for sports coverage at News Rebeat. With a passion for athletics and an in-depth knowledge of the latest sports trends, Jason provides comprehensive and engaging analysis of the world of sports.