Baez denies Thiem a fairytale ending by winning Kitzbuhel title

The Argentine wins his third career singles title, all of them coming on clay at the ATP 250 level

Sebastian Baez at 2023 Roland-Garros Sebastian Baez at 2023 Roland-Garros Image Credit: Federico Pestellini / Panoramic

Dominic Thiem had enjoyed a dream week in front of his home fans at the Generali Open in Kitzbühel. Four wins, three of those in three sets including a semi-final win after saving five match points, had put the Austrian into his first ATP singles final since 2020.

But Sebastian Baez was not happy to play along what would have been the fairytale ending for Thiem and his legion of fans in Austria and across the world. The Argentine put on a clinical display of clay court tennis to beat the fatigued Thiem in straight sets and win his second title of the season, and the third of his career.

Baez started the match strong, breaking Thiem in the fourth game and moved ahead 4-1, even having chances to go up 5-1. The Argentine managed to hold on to the break and served out the set 6-3. In the second, Baez broke the former US Open champion in the opening game and then again in the fifth and seventh games to complete the 6-3, 6-1 win in one hour and 20 minutes.

Baez returns to Top 50 while Thiem is back in Top 100

Even as Baez was ecstatic to win the title, he knew the crowd wanted their local favourite, who has had a tough return after a long layoff caused by a wrist injury, to win.

“I know all the people wanted Domi to win because he is from here, sorry” said Baez on court as quoted by the ATP Tour website. “I’m happy not just for today, but the whole week. All the people, the crowd, made me feel so comfortable here this week. I know this weather is not the best, but this place is amazing, and I enjoyed every day. I’m happy to take the match. “Congrats to Domi and his team. It was a great week, so I hope he comes back to his best level.”

Baez improves to 21-19 on the ATP Tour with his win today and will return to the top 50 in the rankings next week. The Argentine had gone through a rough patch prior to his Cordoba title, entering that tournament with six straight defeats and 17 losses in his previous 18 matches.

For Thiem, his run to the final will see him rise back into the top 100 and sets the 29-year-old for a strong run on hardcourts in the United States, the country of his biggest triumph which came at the 2020 US Open.

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