Sitting at a career-high ATP Ranking of No. 77, Baez built on a second-round Australian Open showing with a 7-6(6), 7-5 win over Fernando Verdasco, who entered the ATP 250 event with a protected ranking.
“I was nervous today, but I think it’s normal because it’s the first round,” said Baez, who led early in both sets before Verdasco twice fought back. “I played an amazing player with experience, so I’m happy to finish the match in the second set.”
The 21-year-old, who competed at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in November, won six ATP Challenger Tour titles in 2021 to break into the Top 100. He’ll face a new level of competition when he takes on third seed and World No. 18 Cristian Garin in the second round.
Etcheverry, 22, earned his second tour-level win with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 result against Chile’s Nicolas Jarry—the lone three-setter of the day in Cordoba. The Argentine’s first ATP Tour victory came at the same event one year ago. This week, he has a golden opportunity to add to that total. He would have been set to face Dominic Thiem in the second round, but will instead challenge lucky loser Nikola Milojevic of Serbia, who was the beneficiary the Austrian’s withdrawal and opening-round bye.
“It’s so special for me to play here in Argentina because my family is here, my girlfriend, my coach and all my team,” the World No. 128 said post-match. “So I’m very happy to be here again. The last year was so special for me, my first victory on the ATP Tour.”
Spain’s Carlos Taberner stopped sixth seed Federico Delbonis from joining his countrymen in the winner’s circle, scoring a 6-4, 6-2 upset to notch his first ATP Tour win of the season. Taberner is joined by countryman Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the second round.
Back on his preferred clay courts after the Australian summer swing, Ramos-Vinolas got off to a smooth start at the Cordoba Open with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Andrej Martin of Slovakia. The Spanish sixth seed bounced back from a five-set Australian Open loss against Baez to secure his first tour-level win of the new season.
The 34-year-old lefty did not drop serve against Martin on Tuesday and converted all three break points he faced in an efficient victory. He’ll enjoy a day off before taking on Peru’s Juan Pablo Varillas in the second round. The qualifier was a 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(5) winner over Facundo Bagnis on Monday.