Sebastian Baez has taken down the hometown favorite…
The 22-year-old Argentine professional tennis player crashed the crashed the Generali Open party of home favorite Dominic Thiem in style on Saturday, when the he delivered a stunning championship-match performance to triumph at the ATP 250.
Baez opened up an ultimately unassailable 4-1 lead en route to the opening set, and put together another streak of four straight games in the second to complete his 80-minute win.
“I know all the people wanted Domi to win because he is from here, sorry” said Baez to the crowd in his on-court interview. “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 [for them], so I hope he comes back to his best level.”
Although Thiem appeared fatigued after pulling through three consecutive three-set wins during his fairytale run to the final, Baez was clinical in nullifying the vocal home support in the Austrian Alps. Rain delayed the start of the match by approximately 90 minutes, but when play did begin the Argentine excelled in the heavy conditions and converted four of six break points he earned to improve his ATP Head2Head lead against Thiem to 2-0.
All three of Baez’s ATP Tour titles have come at clay-court ATP 250s, after he previously triumphed in Estoril in 2022 and at home in Cordoba in February this year.
He had won one match in his previous five tournaments before arriving in Kitzbühel, but he dropped just one set — against top seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry in the semifinals — en route to the trophy. With his title run, the Argentine has risen 25 spots to No. 47 in the ATP Live Rankings.
“I just want to enjoy this moment. It was an amazing week,” said Baez. “I will try to enjoy it with [my team]. We know the past few weeks were not the best results, so we will try to enjoy this moment.”
Despite his final disappointment, Thiem is set to return to the Top 100 on Monday as a result of his Kitzbühel run. The 29-year-old is currently up 27 spots to No. 89 in the ATP Live Rankings.