Argentina’s Sebastian Baez claims maiden ATP title at Estoril, defeating Tiafoe in final
From “Why not me?” to “Yes, it’s me!” – Argentina’s Sebastian Baez completes a stunning run to his first ATP title in Estoril
Millennium Estoril Open | Draw
Sebastian Baez took inspiration from Frances Tiafoe recently, adopting the phrase “Why not me?” and signing the camera with those three words after each victory in Estoril. After Sunday’s victory over Tiafoe, the wording switched: “Yes, it’s me!” the 21-year-old wrote on the camera after capturing his first ATP title with a 6-3, 6-2 triumph over Tiafoe.
The slogan pays homage to the saying that the American wears on a bracelet as he plays these days, and the idea to adopt the mantra came from his coach, Sebastian Gutierrez, after they saw Tiafoe wearing the bracelet on TV.
With that anything-is-possible air about him, Baez confidently eased past Tiafoe to earn the title, the Argentinian converting four of five break points as he marched past the 24-year-old in 74 minutes.
“Unbelievable job to Sebastian,” a fatigued Tiafoe said after the match. “He deserved it, he played better than me today.”
No new legs for Tiafoe
Tiafoe epitomised the “Why not me?” attitude as well in Estoril, as he battled through four three-setters in succession to reach the final, and saved three match points in Saturday’s semi-final against Sebastian Korda. But he didn’t have the energy to burn on Sunday.
After Saturday’s win Tiafoe told the crowd he’d need to go to the supermarket for “new legs” for Sunday’s final.
When firmly outplayed by Baez on Sunday, he admitted the plan didn’t work out. Maybe the supermarkets were closed?
“I didn’t go to the supermarket to get those new legs,” he joked.
Baez: Why not me and you?
Baez addressed Tiafoe after he raised the trophy, telling him that he wishes him a great future.
“First I want to say congrats to Frances,” Baez said. “You were an inspiration for me this week. You are a great player and a great man. I really hope you have a great career… Why not me, and why not you, man?”
Baez is the first Argentinian to claim an ATP title in 2022, and the sixth first-time winner, along with Thanasi Kokkinakis, Alexander Bublik, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Pedro Martinez and Holger Rune.
Career-high rankings for Baez and Tiafoe
It was a productive week for both finalists and both will be rewarded with career-high rankings as a result.
Tiafoe jumps to a projected career-high 25 in the rankings, while Baez is slated to make his top 50 debut, rising nineteen spots from 59 to 40.