Comeback Cristian: Garin Beats Schwartzman For Cordoba Title
The 23-year-old right-hander won his third ATP Tour title on Sunday, coming back from a set down for the third consecutive match to beat top seed Diego Schwartzman 2-6, 6-4, 6-0 in central Argentina. After a slow start, Garin overpowered the home favourite, stepping into the court to put the Argentine on defence and leave him gasping for air.
The home crowd tried to will their man to his first title on home soil, but Garin played fearlessly in the second and third sets, hitting lines and never backing down against the 27-year-old Buenos Aires native.
"Argentina is like my second home... I did not expect to win and I am very happy of course," said Garin. "I’ve won three tournaments in 11 months, its quite a cool thing."
Garin improved to 3-1 in ATP Tour finals, all of which have come in the past 12 months. The Chilean was off to a dismal start in 2020 before Cordoba, going 0-3 at the ATP Cup and falling in the second round of the Australian Open (l. to Raonic).
But Garin ended 2019 as one of the premier clay-court players on the ATP Tour and has started 2020 the exact same way.
"I always thought I could turn the match and win," said Garin. "That's how it has been all week for me and it's what I value most. I think I'm having my best moment but I have a lot to improve."
Schwartzman had played only one final on home soil before Sunday, falling in the 2019 Argentina Open title match in Buenos Aires (l. to Cecchinato). But he enjoyed a nerves-free start, breaking three times in the opener, including in the third game when Garin double faulted for the break.
The Chilean struggled to steady himself in the baseline affair amidst the pro-Schwartzman crowd. The Argentine was doing as he pleased with his forehand and engaging Garin in lengthy forehand-to-forehand rallies.
In the second set, however, Garin calmed his level, breaking up their baseline routine with a backhand up the line to earn two break points at 2-3 on Schwartzman's serve. Two points later, Schwartzman netted a routine backhand, and Garin had his break.
Schwartzman broke back at 3-5, but Garin stepped into the court more often to return the favour and take the second set.
In the deciding set, it was all Garin as the Chilean routinely stepped in front of the baseline and bludgeoned forehands and backhands that Schwartzman could only try to get back in play. Garin showed off his aggressiveness once more on match point, smashing a forehand return winner.
He will receive 250 ATP Rankings points and $91,625 in prize money. Schwartzman, who fell to 3-5 in ATP Tour finals, will take home $50,710 in prize money and 150 ATP Rankings points.