Cecchinato Races To Buenos Aires Title

Italian wins third ATP Tour singles title

Third seed Marco Cecchinato saved his best for last at the Argentina Open. The Italian produced a flawless performance in Sunday’s final to defeat fourth seed and home favourite Diego Schwartzman 6-1, 6-2.

"I was able to play a great match and was always focused. I followed the game plan from the beginning to the end," said Cecchinato. "I was able to win the first two matches [this week] the hard way, working point by point. I improved my level yesterday and I was focused today, so I'm happy with how I was able to win the tournament."

The World No. 18 in the ATP Rankings cruised to the title in Buenos Aires without dropping a set. He finished the week leading all players in the field on second-serve points won (63%) and second-serve return points won (64%). All three of Cecchinato’s ATP Tour titles have come on clay, with the 26-year-old lifting trophies last year in Budapest and Umag.

"Winning my third tournament in my third final makes me happy," said Cecchinato. "I want to be physically good and train harder for the rest of the year. I know that I'll continue to have good results if I stay mentally solid."

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Schwartzman was seeking his first ATP Tour title since prevailing 12 months ago in Rio de Janeiro (d. Verdasco). However, he can take comfort in having reached his first ATP Tour final on home soil this week.

"Marco played a great match and deserved to be the champion. He didn't let me do anything today," said Schwartzman. "Playing at home and getting to the final was very nice for me. I had the unconditional support of the fans all week and that respect is something that makes me feel good despite the bad result."

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From 1-1 in the first set, Cecchinato dominated the lengthy baseline rallies and went on a seven-game run. Schwartzman tried to get the crowd involved and raised his arms in the air after getting on the board in the third game of the second set. But perhaps fatigued by his semi-final heroics on Saturday against top seed Dominic Thiem, where the Argentine saved a match point, Schwartzman couldn't find his footing on Court Guillermo Vilas. A pair of unforced errors gave Cecchinato a 5-2 lead in the second set and the third seed wrapped up the match after 65 minutes.

Cecchinato picks up 250 ATP Ranking points and $101,830 for his efforts this week, while Schwartzman leaves Buenos Aires with 150 ATP Ranking points and $55,065.