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Baez triumphs in Estroil over Tiafoe, Rune (Munich) also wins first ATP Tennis title

Sebastian Baez won his maiden ATP title in Estoril. Photo credit: Millennium Estoril Open Facebook

By Ricky Dimon

It was a week of first-time title winners on the ATP Tour, as Sebastian Baez triumphed in Estoril and Holger Rune lifted the trophy in Munich.

Baez was the best player at the Estoril Open all week long and he capped off his run with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Frances Tiafoe on Sunday afternoon. The 21-year-old Argentine needed only one hour and 14 minutes to prevail in what was his second final (lost to Pedro Martinez in Santiago earlier this season). He took advantage of an opponent in Tiafoe who had survived back-to-back thrillers in the quarterfinals (vs. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina) and semis (vs. Sebastian Korda).

The championship matchup was a fitting end to the week, during which Tiafoe wore a bracelet that said “Why not me?” Baez saw it before the tournament began and took inspiration from it, signing the camera with “Why not me?” after each of his wins. Following the final, the world No. 49 wrote “Yes it’s me.”

Baez told Tiafoe said to Tiafoe during the trophy ceremony, “Why not me? And why not you, man?”

“Unbelievable job by Sebastian,” Tiafoe added. “He deserved it. He played better than me today. I just want to thank [the fans], honestly. You guys made it an unbelievable week for me. I played some crazy, crazy matches and I hope you guys really enjoyed it. I tried to give everything I had this week.

“Unfortunately I didn’t have much today, but you guys were unbelievable. I hope I can come back for many years and we can keep putting a show on this court. It’s one of my favorite courts to play on.”

Holger Rune kisses trophy after winning maiden ATP title in Munich. Photo credit: BMW Open by American Express

The Munich final ended prematurely, as Botic van de Zandaschulp retired in the first set against Rune because of breathing issues. Van de Zandschulp led by an early break and was still up 4-3 but on serve when he called it quits.

“This was probably the worst way to win a final,” Rune admitted. “I was obviously expecting a very tough match and he came out very strong. I just wish him all the best, a speedy recovery, and we all just hope to see him back on the court very soon.

“I’m super happy, of course. As I said, not the way I want it to end–but if I look through the week, what a week. I played some unbelievable tennis, really fighting my way through it. To be playing here in Munich and winning my first ATP title in front of such a brilliant crowd, I couldn’t really ask for more.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.