ATP Tour Official Tournament

Brilliant Baez bags biggest title of career in Rio de Janeiro

25 February 2024 By ATP Staff
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Sebastian Baez won the biggest title of his career Sunday at the Rio Open presented by Claro.

The Argentine ended the dream run of countryman Mariano Navone, a qualifier, 6-2, 6-1 in the ATP 500 final. It is the fifth seed’s first title above ATP 250-level and the fifth tour-level trophy of his career.

"Amazing, amazing. All week I felt so good here in Rio. I said before, I liken [it to] home because of the crowd, the people, everything," Baez said. "In the preseason I did one week here, so I know this place, I know the people and I enjoyed [all my] time inside and outside the court."

Entering the week, Navone had not won an ATP Tour match. The 22-year-old surged into the spotlight with a memorable run in Brazil, earning the adoration of the Brazilian crowd, which supported him until the end.


But the more experienced Baez proved too solid on the red clay. The champion raced to a 4-0 lead before Navone could find any rhythm in the match and never looked back, clinching the championship after one hour and 23 minutes.

Baez won 58 per cent of his return points according to Infosys ATP Stats and broke Navone’s serve six times from 14 chances.

"I think it's so important because in your first final you'll be more nervous, of course," Baez said. "I think I did so well in the start in both sets, so I think that was the key."

Whenever the finalist was not aggressive enough in rallies, Baez made him pay with timely shotmaking from tough positions. It was as if Baez was always one step ahead. That forced Navone to press more, leading to more errors.

Baez will climb to a career-high No. 21 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings Monday from No. 30. Navone will crack the Top 100 for the first time at No. 60.

"Amazing, amazing," Baez said. "But I want more for sure."