Defeating Sebastian Baez in Chile has quickly become a difficult task. The Argentine proved it Tuesday at the Chile Dove Men+Care Open.
The 2021 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals competitor defeated Peruvian Juan Pablo Varillas 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 34 minutes to reach the second round. Baez is now 23-2 at all levels in Chile since the start of last season.
“It was a tough match because we know each other a lot. The past year we’ve played six times,” Baez said. “It was a good day. With my coach we had a plan and today I was able to do everything. I’m happy for that and just focussing on the next step.”
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This was the first ATP Head2Head meeting between Baez and Varillas. But last year, they clashed four times at ATP Challenger Tour events — including twice in Santiago — and once in qualifying at the ATP 500 event in Hamburg. Overall, Baez has now won five of their seven professional meetings.
The Argentine saved two of the three break points he faced and converted three of his six opportunities to set a clash against countryman Juan Ignacio Londero.
“I think it’s confidence. It was a difficult first set and after that I focussed more on the game, knowing my hits on my forehand, my backhand and my serve felt good,” Baez said. “I tried to feel better every point and I think today I was able to do that, so I’m happy.”
Sixth seed Miomir Kecmanovic also advanced with a 7-5, 6-1 victory against Italian Marco Cecchinato. The Serbian dominated his second-serve return points against the 2018 Roland Garros semi-finalist, winning 67 per cent of them. Up next for Kecmanovic will be 18-year-old Holger Rune or Brazilian qualifier Matheus Pucinelli De Almeida.