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Maiden tour title for Cerundolo in Bastad

An Argentinian man was going to lift the trophy – and it turned out to be the underdog

Francisco Cerundolo Francisco Cerundolo at Queens (Panoramic)

In the all-Argentine clash in the Bastad final, it was the underdog who won through – Francisco Cerundolo beat eighth seed Sebastian Baez 7-6 (4), 6-2.

It was their first meeting at tour level – but Baez had won their two most recent clashes on the Challenger circuit.

The first set was an intense battle, lasting an hour and a quarter, with world No 34 Baez breaking in the first game, and Cerundolo breaking right back. After that, Baez dropped all nine of his subsequent break points, including six at 5-5 that would have allowed him to serve for the set.

His opponent also missed seven break points, including two set points at 6-5 in his favour. A tiebreak was the inevitable outcome with Cerundolo quickly taking a 4-0 lead and seeing it out 7-4.

The second set was much shorter, with Cerundolo making the most of his momentum to move to a double-break lead and see out the match on his serve.

Cerundolo will now be at a new career-high ranking of world No 30, and take the position of Argentina’s No 2, behind Diego Schwartzman. He also moves ahead of Baez, who did enjoy a remarkable week in Sweden, defeating second seed Andrey Rublev in the semi-final, and Dominic Thiem in the quarters.

But Cerundolo too had been in great form, claiming the scalps of top seed Casper Ruud and fifth seed Pablo Carreno Busta en route to the final.

This is the 23-year-old’s first tour-level title, making him the eighth man to win a maiden crown this season.

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