Francisco Cerundolo captures maiden ATP title in Bastad
Francisco Cerundolo won the battle of the Argentinian young guns on Sunday as he defeated Sebastian Baez to claim his first ATP tour level title in his second ever final.
The 23-year-old had reached the final of the ATP 250 Argentina Open in Buenos Aires towards the start of last year, but lost to more experienced compatriot Diego Schwartzman handily on that occasion.
This time around, the fight was more even against the 21-year-old Baez, but the older man was just too strong as he came through 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 in the seaside sunshine of Bastad.
“It feels amazing,” Cerundolo described during the trophy presentation. “First of all, I want to congratulate Sebastian [Baez], not just for this week. You’ve been playing amazing since last year.
“[This 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.”
Both men will now be ranked at new career-highs come Monday, with Cerundolo breaking into the ATP top 30 for the first time at 30th while Baez will be just behind in 32nd.
Cerundolo began the year ranked outside the top 100, but runs to the quarter-finals of Buenos Aires and the semi-finals of Rio de Janeiro set the Argentinian up for a surprise run to the semi-finals of the Miami Masters in late March.
He then jumped from 103rd to 47th in the world before pushing on to 39th heading into Bastad.
Cerundolo heads to Germany next for the Hamburg Open, the final ATP 500 event on the clay before the North American hard court swing builds to the US Open.
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