Sebastian Baez in action ahead of the ATP Bastad Open.

ATP Bastad Finals Prediction – Baez vs Cerundolo

As of yesterday, it looked like it was going to be Andrey Rublev vs Pablo Carreno Busta, while Casper Ruud’s presence in the clay 250 draw is usually a sure sign that he will be in the final. But all three were defeated, with Sebastian Baez and Francisco Cerundolo coming through tough draws to earn the right to play for the ATP Bastad Open title. Both are currently at career highs, and each is guaranteed to further improve their rankings on Monday (they currently sit side-by-side at 31st and 32nd). But who will come out on top?

Final ATP Bastad prediction

Sebastian Baez vs Francisco Cerundolo

Head to head: Baez 2-1 Cerundolo

Baez continues his rise on clay. Baez entered this tournament in the midst of a breakout season, albeit without a marquee win thus far. But he beat a top 10 talent in Andrey Rublev in the semifinals and in straight sets no less. He also beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, who can be dangerous, and again in straight sets. (Oddly enough, his biggest test was Dominic Thiem, who hadn’t won a match all season before this tournament.) But perhaps such results shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Baez is quickly becoming one of the best clay courts on tour. .

Cerundolo played his most convincing tournament this year. His semi-final performance in Miami wasn’t as impressive as it looked on paper, as he benefited from two passes before losing heavily to Ruud. Here in Bastad, however, he went through Ruud and the fired-up Pablo Carreno Busta, the latter of whom dispatched Diego Schwartzman in the semi-finals and lost only one game. One win may be a fluke, but two excellent wins en route to the final speak volumes for his developing skills.

This matchup could actually be a lot like the quarterfinals between Schwartzman and Carreno Busta in the dynamic of how it plays out. These two players are almost identical to his counterpart in this particular matchup. The similarities between Baez and Schwartzman are obvious, even as compatriots, but the similarities are almost as close between Cerundol and Carreno Busta. They are about the same height and weight and each has good speed on the court. And both have a big forehand and a solid two-hander and prefer an aggressive attack.

Expect a quick rally (compared to the generally longer clay rallies) with each side trying to attack, though Cerundol’s larger size lends itself to dominating the offense. However, Baez (like Schwartzman) has surprising power to complement his quickness and court movement, and Cerundolo will need to hit the court to break down Baez’s defense. And he’ll have to watch out for Baez’s ability to quickly turn defense into offense.

The submission undoubtedly favors Cerundolo and expect him to attack Baez’s submission. Carreno Busta put a lot of pressure on Schwartzman during their quarterfinal, often hitting his return deep and forcing a weak return or even a block, and we could see the same dynamic here. Likewise, Cerundolo should take full advantage of Baez’s slower serve with his attacking style. Baez can compensate somewhat by slicing serves wide often, as Cerundolo’s forehand doesn’t generate pace as well as it absorbs it.

It will be their fourth match, with the previous three being played on sub-ATP clay. Baez holds a 2-1 lead, both of his two wins coming last year, while Cerundolo was at the Futures tournament four years ago. Both are obviously much better players now, but going head-to-head gives Baez a slight edge. Cerundolo lost three fights to Diego Schwartzman (two this year), which almost count as Baez’s wins.

Both preferred clay courts in their short careers, but Baez is the better player at this point. Cerundolo is starting to move to the hard courts after staying on the court at a sub-ATP level, while Baez continues to excel on his home surface. He has a score of 17-9 on clay this year, and with another one he would establish himself as a serious opponent at higher levels. Cerundolo is playing very well in Sweden and that could be a sign of things to come, but Baez is currently the more stable and experienced clay court player. But Cerundolo plays well enough, keep it close.

Prediction: Baez in the 3rd

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