Sebastian Baez finished off a perfect week at the Estoril Open by winning his first ATP Tour championship with one of his most dominant performances of the event. The 21-year-old overcame Frances Tiafoe in the title match, 6-3, 6-2, in his second tour-level final. The Argentine slumped to the court in joy after winning the last five games of the final, capping off a life-changing week. “A lot things, a lot of words, but I think we best words were ‘so proud’,” the young Argentine said after the match.
Baez lost the first two games of the match but saved three break points to keep the score at 0-3. He stormed to a 5-2 lead after holding service in a six-deuce game — the longest in the one-hour, 14-minute match — before easily closing out the first set. In set two, it was a similar tale, with Tiafoe unable to cope with his opponent’s aggressive tennis.
“I started so nervous. He started good, I think,” Baez continued. “After the third game, it was so important for both. I started to play better. The key was trying to be in the game every time, try to think what I had to do, and that’s the difference today.”
On his journey to the final, Baez defeated three former champions: Jaoa Sousa in the first round, Richard Gasquet in the quarterfinals, and reigning champion Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the semis. He also defeated third seed Marin Cilic and fifth seed Johnathan Tiafoe, in addition to sixth seed Ramos-Vinolas.
“Unbelievable job by Sebastian. He deserved it. He played better than me today,” Tiafoe said during the ceremony, before addressing the Portuguese fans. “I just want to thank you guys, honestly. You guys made it an unbelievable week for me. I played some crazy, crazy matches and I hope you guys really enjoyed it. I tried to give everything I had this week. Unfortunately I didn’t have much today, but you guys were unbelievable. I hope I can come back for many years and we can keep putting a show on this court. It’s one of my favourite courts to play in.”