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Ricky’s tennis picks for Sunday’s ATP finals: Cressy vs. Bublik and Baez vs. Cerundolo

Alexander Bublik plays the Newport, RI final on Sunday. (Photo by Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

By Ricky Dimon

The final grass-court tournament of the year comes down to Alexander Bublik and Maxime Cressy on Sunday in Newport. On the red clay of Bastad, Sebastian Baez and Francisco Cerundolo are set for an all-Argentine affair.

Here are my previews and picks for the two title matches.

Hall of Fame Open: (3) Alexander Bublik vs. (4) Maxime Cressy

Newport may be Cressy’s favorite tournament in the early stages of his career. The 25-year-old American reached his first ATP quarterfinal at this grass-court event last summer and now he is through to his third final (finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal in Melbourne and to Taylor Fritz in Eastbourne earlier this season). Armed with a rare serve-and-volley game that obviously works great on the green stuff, Cressy has advanced this week with victories over Mitchell Krueger, Steve Johnson, and four-time Newport winner John Isner.

Up next for the world No. 41 on Sunday is a first-ever showdown with world No. 42 Bublik. Newport is probably the Kazakh’s favorite tournament, as well, because he has never lost prior to the semifinals in three appearances and he was runner-up to Isner in 2019. Bublik is back in the championship match after defeating Jack Sock, Andy Murray, and Jason Kubler. All three of those opponents had produced stellar results on grass earlier this summer. This will likely be a serve-fest with small margins, but Bublik has been here before and he has been the best player in Newport all week long.

Pick: Bublik in 3

Sebastian Baez of Argentina in action. EPA-EFE/MATTEO BAZZI

Nordea Open: Francisco Cerundolo vs. (8) Sebastian Baez

Baez and Cerundolo will be facing each other for the fourth time in their careers when they battle for the Bastad title. All three of their previous encounters have come on the Challengers or Futures circuits (all on clay), with Baez leading the head-to-head series 2-1. After Cerundolo prevailed in 2018, Baez won each of their 2021 meetings–6-3, 6-7(5), 7-6(5) in Chile and 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 in Brazil.

Both guys are in the midst of breakout 2022 campaigns, but Baez has been especially impressive. The 21-year-old is up to No. 34 in the world and has earned 25 of his 28 career ATP-level match wins this season. Baez dropped only one set–to Dominic Thiem in a tiebreaker–en route to the Bastad final and he trounced Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-4 in the semis. Cerundolo picked up his 16th main-tour victory of the year by erasing Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday. The world No. 39 is bidding for his first-ever ATP title, while Baez triumphed earlier this year in Estoril. A slight edge in current form plus his title-winning experience gives the nod to Bastad’s eighth seed.

Pick: Baez in 2

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