Moutet upsets top seed Jarry in Santiago, Baez eyes consecutive titles

Baez collects 12th win of the Golden Swing
March 01, 2024
Corentin Moutet celebrates his path to the Santiago semi-finals. By ATP Staff

French qualifier Corentin Moutet crushed local hopes of an all-Chilean top-half semi-final with a stunning upset of top seed and defending champion Nicolas Jarry in two tie-breaks at the Movistar Chilean Open in Santiago Friday night.

Coming into the tournament as World No. 140 in the PIF ATP Rankings and winless at ATP Tour level this season, Moutet largely nullified Jarry's first serve and took advantage of an error-prone display from his opponent in the backcourt to win 7-6(5), 7-6(3). He next will face another Chilean, fourth seed Alejandro Tabilo, who defeated Italian Luciano Darderi 6-0, 7-5.

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The left-hander showed great heart in both sets, breaking when Jarry served for the first set at 5-4 and later rallying from 2-5 in the second set to force another tie-break. When he claimed the first mini break in the tie-break with a stunning down-the-line backhand winner from deep behind the baseline that cleaned the line, the Frenchman's brilliance was met with deathly silence from the crowd.

Moutet advance to just his fourth career semi-final, his first on clay and first since Adelaide in January 2022. Moutet fell in qualifying in Cordoba and Buenos Aires before winning through to the main draw in Rio de Janeiro, where he lost in the first round to eventual champion Sebastian Baez.

In the bottom half of the draw, second seed Baez extended his match-winning streak to seven by ousting Spaniard Jaume Munar 6-4, 6-4. Baez, who last week won his biggest career title in Rio, fought off six of seven break points faced to reach his 10th tour-level semi-final and third consecutive in Santiago.

A pivotal moment came in the second set, when the Argentine Baez tallied five consecutive games from 1-4 to close the match after one hour, 48 minutes.

“It was a close match. In the beginning, maybe I had the difference with the first break,” the 23-year-old Baez said. “In the second set, I didn’t feel so good for some moments but my team helped me a lot."

Baez will next face another Spaniard, Pedro Martinez, who defeated Arthur Fils 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-2 to reach his third tour-level semi-final. Martinez leads Baez 2-0 in their Lexus ATP Head2Head series, having rallied from a set down both times to claim victory.

Martinez absorbed the Frenchman’s firepower for two hours, 25 minutes and produced a strong-serving performance, winning 81 per cent of his first-serve points, compared to Fils’ 65 per cent according to Infosys ATP Stats.

Saturday’s semi-final between Baez and Martinez will be a rematch of the 2022 Santiago final, which the Spaniard won in three sets to claim his lone ATP Tour title. Martinez leads Baez 2-0 in their Lexus ATP Head2Head series.


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