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By Alberto Amalfi | @Tennis_Now |Sunday, February 25, 2024


In an all-Argentinian Rio final, Sebastian Baez burst through eight of the last nine games beating qualifier Mariano Navone 6-2, 6-1 for his fifth career title.

Photo credit: Buda Mendes/Getty

Sebastian Baez packs quite a punch from a compact 5'7" frame.

Baez continues to show convincing closing power.

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In an all-Argentinian Rio final, Baez burst through eight of the last nine games beating qualifier Mariano Navone 6-2, 6-1 to capture the biggest championship of his career.

The 23-year-old Baez played bold baseline tennis rolling to his fifth career title, first career ATP 500 crown and fourth championship since the start of 2023. 

Only four men—world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, Jannik Sinner, Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev—have won more titles than Baez since the start of 2023.

Baez improves his career finals record to 5-2—surpassing Diego Schwartzman for most ATP championships among active Argentinians.

After a dominant final that spanned 82 minutes, Baez took a long swig from the bottle of championship champagne before spraying it around the court.

While the ball was in play, Baez was nearly unerring.

The No. 5 seed looked far fresher than his compatriot, who played through qualifying and knocked off defending champion Cameron Norrie for his biggest career win in the semifinals.

In the 30th all-Argentine final in Open Era, and first since Baez defeated Federico Coria in Cordoba final last year, it was the more experienced Baez who carved up Navone charging out to a 4-0 lead.

Down a double break in his maiden final, Navone made a brief stand closing the gap to 2-4.

Then Baez unleashed a baseline barrage. Baez held at 30 then broke for a one-set lead.

In front of a supportive crowd that included Hall of Famer Guga Kuerten and former French Open finalist David Ferrer, Baez again charged out to a 4-0 lead for the second straight set and closed with conviction.

Navone kept fighting, but could not dent the speedy Baez's defense system.

The former junior world No. 1 thumped a bounce smash for two championship points.

Baez sealed his fifth career title when Navone missed a crosscourt backhand.

The Argentinians shared a warm embrace at net—each enjoying career breakthroughs in Rio. Baez will rise to a career-high ranking of No. 21 tomorrow, while Navone rockets from No. 113 to No. 60.


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