These two earthlings have already crossed paths 4 times between 2015 and 2020, always on clay. Thiago Monteiro won these 4 matches.
This is the second year in a row that Thiago Monteiro participates in this ATP 250 of Cordoba. He did not manage to pass the 1st round in 2020 (defeat against Corentin Moutet).
For his part, Roberto Carballes Baena is playing in this Argentinian tournament for the second time in his career, after 2019 when he was stopped in the second round.
In this edition
In the 1st round, Thiago Monteiro won in 2 sets against the “lucky loser” Joao Menezes.
Roberto Carballes Baena, meanwhile, defeated another Joao. It was Joao Sousa (who, by the way, can’t do it anymore with only 3 small victories in his last 10 matches).
The forehand of left-handed Monteiro against the accelerating backhand of right-handed Carballes Baena. On a slow surface like this, there’s plenty of room for a nice rally. Take out the bibs.
These two guys did the job in the first round. Thiago Monteiro was able to oppress Menezes, while Carballes Baena got many opportunities on Sousa’s serve (especially on his second balls).
I find it difficult to come up with a clear winner from this match, because if Monteiro and Carballes Baena play at their usual level, the result of this match could well be decided on small details.
I will give my preference to the favorite of this match: Thiago Monteiro.
The Brazilian has never yet lost to the Spanish, and there is an explanation for that. Thiago Monteiro has always faced Roberto Carballes Baena on his home continent, and these conditions make him more comfortable.
Also, tennistically speaking, Monteiro’s left leg can be difficult to control, especially when he has had time to let go of his forehand. What’s interesting about the Brazilian’s tennis is his ability to hit very hard, but also to play long lines to quickly change the direction of the ball. Carballes Baena has a really nice backhand, but his forehand is less sexy. His shots are a little more neutral on this side, even more so when he has to play it at the end. So Thiago Monteiro knows how to beat his opponent of the day.
It should also be added that Roberto Carballes Baena has never been comfortable with left-handed players. Since 2018, in ATP clay court tournaments, the Spanish has lost 62% of the matches he has played against left-handed players. In fact, it was a left-hander who eliminated him from this tournament in his only previous appearance (Federico Delbonis in 2019).
Let’s not bury Roberto Carballes Baena too quickly. He moves well and knows how to play long rallies. He could manage to play on his regularity to force Thiago Monteiro to commit more faults. Which is a nasty habit with him.
Prediction: Thiago Monteiro wins