Sebastian Baez Defeats Jiri Lehecka to Claim Winston-Salem Open Title

Sebastian Baez’s winning streak continues…

The 22-year-old Argentine tennis player produced a squeaky clean performance Saturday to win the Winston-Salem Open and extend his winning streak to 10 matches after also claiming the ATP 250 event in Kitzbühel three weeks ago.

Sebastian Baez Baez, the tournament’s sixth seed, needed just one hour, 34 minutes to defeat fifth seed Jiri Lehecka 6-4, 6-3 and capture his first tour-level title on hard courts and third trophy of the season.

He’s now the first Argentine to win three titles in a season since Juan Martin del Potro (4) in 2013.

Despite a marathon three-hour, 19-minute semifinal against Borna Coric on Friday night, Baez showed no signs of fatigue as he stayed patient in baseline rallies and struck the ball cleanly. Lehecka, who was competing in his first tour-level final, advanced to the title match after receiving a walkover from third seed Sebastian Korda, who suffered an ankle injury in the quarterfinals.

A pivotal moment came when Baez saved four break points when serving at 5-4 to close a 54-minute opening set. Baez stayed focussed despite trailing by a break early in both sets and won four consecutive games from 0-2 in the second.

Sebastian Baez “[My coach told me] to keep going, try and stay focused on good things,” Baez said. “It was just a bad start, but happy with the result and all of this week.”

Lehecka tried to move forward in the latter stages of the match to apply pressure on the World No. 42, but lacked the consistency needed to down a watertight Baez, who thrilled the crowd with several passing shots to improve to 2-0 in his ATPHead2Head series with the Czech.

Following his triumph, Baez will move to No. 32 in the ATP Rankings on Monday, just two spots shy of tying his career-high. He’ll next aim to maintain his form at the US Open, where he opens against 25th seed Coric.

“It’s nice to have that confidence, but now I have to think about my recovery after this week, and then after I will think about the US Open,” Baez said. “I have a few days to recover and to focus again on a new tournament.”

Carlos Alcaraz Defeats Sebastian Korda to Reach First Final on Grass at Cinch Championships

Carlos Alcaraz is kickin’ grass

Improving match by match on the grass courts of the Cinch Championships, the 20-year-old Spanish tennis player defeated Sebastian Korda 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday to move into his first final on the surface.

Carlos Alcaraz With a victory against Alex de Minaur in Sunday’s final at The Queen’s Club in London, Alcaraz would reclaim the top spot in the ATP Rankings from Novak Djokovic and secure the No. 1 seed at Wimbledon. Through to his 14th tour-level final, he is seeking his 11th title.

“Right now I feel like I’m playing for 10 years on grass, it’s something crazy for me,” said Alcaraz, who is playing just his third tournament on the surface and entered London with a 4-2 grass-court record. “I didn’t expect to adapt my movement, my game so fast on grass. I’m really happy with that.”

Alcaraz’s win against World No. 32 Korda improved his record to 27-1 against players outside the Top 20 this season. He has reached at least the semifinals in eight of the nine tournaments he’s played on the year.

After winning a dramatic opening set that featured a combined three breaks of serve on 13 chances, Alcaraz won the only break point of the second set. He converted three of his nine break chances overall, saving four of five break points against him in the opening set.

Korda was plagued by six double faults, including several at key moments in the first set. The American’s slice was also punished by Alcaraz, the top seed running around it and crushing forehands at every opportunity.

“I’m playing great, I’m feeling great,” Alcaraz assessed, saying that this was the best match of his young grass-court career. “I’m really happy to play here in Queen’s. Since the first match, I feel the love from the crowd. I would say that it’s impossible to win these kind of matches without them, without the energy they bring to me.”

Alcaraz will again rely on that energy in the final against De Minaur, who beat Holger Rune 6-3, 7-6(2) earlier on Saturday. The pair’s lone previous ATP Head2Head meeting was a classic in last year’s Barcelona semifinals. In a three-hour, 40-minute thriller, Alcaraz saved a pair of match points in a 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-4 victory en route to the title on home soil.

“It’s going to be a big challenge for me. His game is really good on grass,” Alcaraz said of the final matchup. “He serves so flat. He’s going to be very dangerous here on grass.

“But I think about myself, I’m thinking about my game. I will try to put my game in the match. I will try not to think about the opponent. Just enjoy the final, enjoy playing here and let’s see what happens.”

De Minaur could reach a new career-high ATP ranking of No. 14 with victory in the final. Korda, behind his run to the semis, will move to a new high of World No. 25 on Monday.

Carlos Alcaraz Defeats Grigor Dimitrov at Queen’s Club Championships to Reach First-Ever ATP Semifinals on Grass

Carlos Alcaraz is kicking grass

The 20-year-old Spanish tennis phenom, the tournament’s top seed, reached his first-ever ATP semifinals on grass when he defeated former champion Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-4 at the Queen’s Club Championships on Friday.

Dimitrov, the 2014 winner who came through qualifying this year, was his own worst enemy. He had a better first serve and more break chances but hurt himself with 16 unforced errors and seven double faults.

“Grigor is a top player on any surface, but especially on grass. But I played really well from the beginning to the last ball,” Alcaraz said.

“I’m a guy who learns quite fast and I’m feeling really comfortable playing on grass.”

Alcaraz also improved to 8-0 this year in quarterfinals.

In the semifinals, he’ll face Sebastian Korda, who into his first grass semifinal as well.

Korda became the first American to reach the Queen’s semis in 11 years after beating Cameron Norrie 6-4, 7-6 (1).

Carlos Alcaraz Soundly Defeats Alexander Zverev to Claim Madrid Open Title

Carlos Alcaraz continues to impress, as he proves he belongs among the best.

The 19-year-old Spanish tennis phenom wrapped up another impressive week with a straight-set victory over Alexander Zverev on Sunday to win the Madrid Open and become the second-youngest player to win two Masters 1000 titles.

Carlos AlcarazHis comfortable 6-3, 6-1 win over Zverev followed victories over his idol Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals and top-ranked Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.

“Last year I was going through these experiences for the first time, playing against the best players, playing in the Masters 1000, and I learned a lot,” Alcaraz said. “Now it’s different. I go onto the court knowing that I can win, with the confidence that I can win at any moment.”

Alcaraz became the youngest winner in Madrid, and the second youngest to win two Masters 1000 trophies after Nadal won in Monte Carlo and Rome in 2005 as an 18-year-old. Alcaraz had already become the youngest to enter the top 10 since Nadal did it in 2005.

“It feels great to be able to beat these players,” Alcaraz said. “To beat two of the best players in history and then Zverev, the world No. 3. He is a great player. I would say this is the best week of my life.”

Carlos AlcarazIt was the seventh straight win over a top-10 player for Alcaraz, and his tour-leading fourth title of the year. He also has the most wins this season with 28, one more than Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Alcaraz tried to downplay the hype about whether he’s the best player right now, though.

“Djokovic is the No. 1 in the ranking,” he said. “It’s not because I won in Barcelona and beat Djokovic and Rafa in Madrid that I will consider myself the best player in the world. Also, I think I’m going to be No. 6 tomorrow, so I still have five players in front of me to be the best one.”

For Zverev, who was trying to win his second consecutive Madrid title – and third overall – there was no doubt about who was playing the best tennis.

“Right now you are the best player in the world,” Zverev said before the trophy ceremony and joked about his opponent’s age. “Even though you are still 5 years old, you are still beating us all, so great to see for tennis that we have such a new superstar who is going to win many Grand Slams, who is going to be No. 1 and is going to win this tournament many times.”

Alcaraz had won his first Masters 1000 tournament in Miami earlier this year. He had also won in Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona. His first career title came in Umag last year.

Alcaraz’s three losses this season came against Sebastian Korda in Monte Carlo, Nadal in Indian Wells and Matteo Berrettini in the Australian Open.

After long three-set wins over Nadal and Djokovic, the seventh-seeded Alcaraz kept his high energy from the start against Zverev and was in control throughout the match at the Caja Mágica center court.

He didn’t face any break points and converted four of the eight he had against the second-seeded Zverev. Alcaraz had 11 unforced errors compared to 25 by Zverev.

“I am 19 years old, which I think is the key to be able to play long and tough matches in a row. I am feeling great physically,” Alcaraz said.

Alcaraz said he had been worried about his condition after waking up with an infected blister and a swollen right ankle, which he injured in the win against Nadal on Friday.

Alcaraz said it was special to win in Madrid, where he first started watching tennis at an early age.

“Watching Rafa lift this trophy gave me a lot of power to work hard for this moment,” Alcaraz said. “It is a great moment for me. It is the first tournament I watched, so lifting the trophy today is so emotional.”

Sebastian Baez Claims First ATP Tour Career Title at Estoril Open

It’s a special first for Sebastian Baez.

The 21-year-old Argentine tennis player enjoyed a straight-set victory over American Frances Tiafoe to win the Estoril Open on Sunday.

Sebastian BaezBaez won 6-3, 6-2 in 1 1/4 hours on the outdoor clay court for his first ATP Tour career title.

Tiafoe was playing in his fourth career final, and his second in Estoril. He lost the 2018 final to João Sousa in straight sets. He won his only title at Delray Beach in 2018.

Báez converted four of five break chances and hit four aces to beat the 24-year-old Tiafoe, who struggled with his serve.

Tiafoe had reached the final after beating countryman Sebastian Korda 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4 after saving three match points on Saturday.

Báez has now reached a career high ATP singles ranking of No. 40 in the world, as of May 2, 2022.

Carlos Alcaraz Defeats Sebastian Korda to Claim Next Gen ATP Finals Title

Carlos Alcaraz has ended his brilliant season with a bang…

The 18-year-old Spanish tennis player defeated Sebastian Korda of the United States to win the Next Gen ATP Finals on Saturday.

Carlos AlcarazThe top-seeded Alcaraz seemed to take a while to find his proper rhythm and had to save a number of break points in his first two service games. But he found his stride there was no turning back as he saw off Korda 4-3 (5), 4-2, 4-2 in 82 minutes.

Alcaraz had seen two championship points saved by Korda in the fifth game of the third set but that only delayed the inevitable as he won on his third, with a smash at the net.

The victory made Alcaraz the youngest player to earn 32 tour-level wins in a season since Andrei Medvedev went 32-11 in 1992 when he was 18.

Alcaraz has moved more than 100 places up the rankings this season to a career-high No. 32 and reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals.

Both Korda and Alcaraz had won all four of their matches in the tournament for the top 21-and-under players on the ATP Tour. Alcaraz had only dropped one set all week – in the third group game, after he had already secured a semifinal spot.

The ATP Finals will also be in Italy, in Turin next week.

There are different rules at the Next Gen tournament, including on-court coaching, no-Ad scoring, medical timeout limits, and Hawk-Eye making all the line calls.

The most drastic change is the shorter first-to-four set, with a tiebreaker at 3-3.

Carlos Alcaraz Wins Opening Match at Next Gen Finals

Carlos Alcaraz is still the man to beat…

The 18-year-old Spanish tennis phenom, the tournament favorite, took just 75 minutes to beat Holger Rune of Denmark 4-3 (6) 4-2 4-0, seeing out the group match with a crosscourt volley to take the final game and set to love at the Next Gen Finals on Tuesday.

Carlos AlcarazAlcaraz has moved more than 100 places up the rankings this season to No. 32 and reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals.

Earlier, Brandon Nakashima  took less than 90 minutes to beat Francisco Cerúndolo of Argentina 4-1 3-4 (3) 4-1 4-0.

All four players are in Group A of the eight-man tournament, which has a round-robin format. The top two in both groups qualify for Friday’s semifinals. The final is on Saturday.

In Group B, Sebastian Korda of the U.S. plays Hugo Gaston of France in the first match of the evening session, followed by home favorite Lorenzo Musetti against Sebastian Baez of Argentina.

It is the fourth edition of the tournament in Milan for the top 21-and-under players on the ATP Tour. The tournament was cancelled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The ATP Finals will also be in Italy, in Turin next week.

There are different rules at the Next Gen Finals, including on-court coaching, no-Ad scoring, medical timeout limits, and Hawk-Eye making all the line calls.

The most drastic change is the shorter set, where the first to four games takes the set, with a tiebreak at 3-3.

This year there are also shorter warm-ups, ensuring matches begin just one minute after the players enter the court, while bathroom breaks are timed to three minutes.