Baez, Monteiro Reach Buenos Aires Challenger Final

Sebastian Baez (photo: Dove Men+Care Circuit Challenger Buenos Aires)


Top seed Thiago Monteiro and seventh favourite Sebastian Baez will go head-to-head in Sunday’s singles final of the $52,080 DOVE MEN+CARE Challenger Circuit Buenos Aires hosted by the Racket Club in Argentina’s capital city.

Monteiro fought past local hero and No. 3 seed Francisco Cerundolo 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 on Saturday. The World No. 92 from Brazil, who only faced Argentines on his way to the championship match, converted six of his 14 break-point opportunities to seal victory in two hours and 31 minutes.

“Francisco is a great player, he had his chances in a very even match. The first set was actually a tougher fight than indicated by the scoreboard. I’m happy to be in another final,” said Monteiro, who claimed his sixth ATP Challenger Tour trophy at the Braga Open in Portugal last month.

In the bottom half of the draw, Baez completed double duty, winning two matches to reach the final. The 20-year-old Argentine had defeated No. 4 seed Juan Pablo Varillas of Peru 7-5, 6-2 before he cruised past his compatriot and No. 2 seed Juan Manuel Cerundolo 6-1, 6-2. Baez won 67 per cent of the total points played in this match to advance after only 46 minutes.

In-form Baez reached the final at eight of his 12 ATP Challenger Tour events this year, including four in a row and three in consecutive weeks. The World No. 121 is seeking his fifth crown of the season and is projected to reach a new career-high ranking next week. Monteiro could lift his seventh Challenger career trophy. The pair will meet for the first time.

Teenagers crowned doubles champions

In other action, teenagers Luciano Darderi of Italy and Juan Bautista Torres from Argentina captured their maiden Challenger title in doubles. Teaming up for the first time this week at Challenger level, the two 19-year-olds edged past home favourites Hernan Casanova and Santiago Fa Rodriguez Taverna 7-6(5), 7-6(10). The encounter lasted one hour and 29 minutes.

“Luli told me to sign up, I thought we weren’t going to be able to enter the tournament. We did not expect to play, even less to win the title (laughs). We are very happy,” Torres said.

“We only had even matches this week, but we were mentally consistent to take the important points.”

Darderi and Torres split $3,100 in prize money and earned 80 ATP Doubles Ranking points.