Baena wins his maiden ATP singles title, Ecuador Open 2018

Spaniard, Roberto Carballés Baena won his first ATP Singles title at the Ecuador Open, 2018. He took down the tournament’s second-seed, a much higher ranked Albert Ramos-Viñolas in a three-set match by 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. With six wins in seven days, it was a dream week for the 76th ranked Baena. The Spaniard was also a part of Tata Open Maharashtra 2018, where he lost to the local boy Ramkumar Ramanathan by 7-6, 6-2 in the first round.

Moving to the clay-court season, which happens to be his favorite surface, he qualified for the main draw with an easy win over Gonzalo Escobar of Ecuador 6-1, 6-3. Facing Federico Gaio in the first round, Baena made the best use of Gaio's seven double-faults which eventually helped him clinch the tie 7-6, 6-3. His next challenge was the tournament’s fourth-seed Paolo Lorenzi of Italy. Lorenzi gave a tough fight with his first serve, winning a total of 26 out of 30 points in the entire match. But Baena backed himself up and won the closely fought match 7-6, 7-5.

In the quarter-final, he was up against 6'6" Chilean, Nicolás Jarry. Big-serving Jarry fired as many as 14 aces in the match, but couldn't break Baena’s defiance as the latter won the match 3-6, 6-2, 7-6. Baena's patience and consistency helped him to win key points in the semi-finals, as he won five out of the eight breakpoints in the entire match, assuring a win over Andrej Martin 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Expressing his excitement, Baena thanked his family and his parents. "They have been with me since I was little and have been behind me for a long time. I did not expect this when I came to Quito, but every day I have improved and now I have the title with me. I hope to enter more ATP tournaments to continue raising my level and win more matches," said the 24-year-old Spaniard. 

A win over fellow Spaniard Ramos-Vinolas in the finals assured Baena his first ATP title. All the best for the rest of the clay-court season!