15 Oct 2017

2017 ITF Junior Masters: Who's who

News Article

Photo: Susan MullaneSebastian Baez (ARG)

In the build up to this year’s ITF Junior Masters, we will be introducing one of the players competing in Chengdu. For our next feature, we take a closer look at Argentina’s Sebastian Baez.

Baez’s first tournament was entertaining to say the least. As a wildcard, he lost in three tiebreaks in the opening round of singles, but went on to reach the semifinals of the doubles.

His first final came in September 2015, when Baez was still just 14 years of age. At a Grade 5 event in Argentina, Baez won two three-set matches en route to the final, and showed his mettle again in the title match to hold off a comeback from his opponent to win another three-set match and clinch his first title.

In December 2015, just before turning 15, Baez qualified for the prestigious Eddie Herr Championship in Florida. He came through qualifying, only dropping one se along the way, and made it into the second round, falling to Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Baez made a step up at the start of the 2016 season, competing at the higher-level events. He qualified for the Grade 1 Banana Bowl in Sao Paolo, and went on to reach the quarterfinals. The step up earned him a direct acceptance into qualifying for the Grade A event in Porto Alegre, his first competition at that level. The Argentinian won back-to-back three-set matches to qualify for the main draw, but could not carry that form on.

Baez’s first title of 2016 came in July, when he won a Grade 2 event in the Netherlands. At the same event, he also reached the semifinals in the doubles.

In December of 2016, Baez put in a series of impressive performances as he stormed into the semifinals of the Grade A Orange Bowl, but fell to Yibing Wu in three sets in the final four.

At the Grade A in Porto Alegre, Baez reached the third round in singles and reached his first doubles final, but he and teammate Ondrej Styler were forced to give a walkover.

In June, Baez contested his first junior Grand Slam at Roland Garros, but Sebastian Baez (ARG)fell in the opening round in both singles and doubles. His second major appearance, at Junior Wimbledon, ended the same way. He bounced back the week after Wimbledon, winning his first Grade 1 title in Austria, only dropping one set along the way.

In his third Grand Slam, the junior US Open, Baez finally recorded his first win at that level. Then, the floodgates opened. He stormed into the quarterfinals of the singles before eventually falling to Emil Ruusuvuori, also competing in Chengdu. In the doubles, Baez and his partner Thiago Seyboth Wild reached the semifinals before falling to eventual champions Hsu Hsiou Yu and Wu Yibing.

Baez is still finding his feet on the ITF Pro Circuit. He has a number of qualifying victories under his belt but, so far, just the one main draw win to his name.

The 2017 ITF Junior Masters will take place at the Sichuan International Tennis Center in Chengdu, China on 25-29 October.