Tuesday’s meeting between world No. 13 Taylor Fritz and world No. 32 Sebastian Baez might not look like much on paper, as you would think the American should be able to deal with the Argentinean on the hard courts of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. These two have never played one another, but Fritz has proven to be one of the better hard-court players on the planet this season. The 24-year-old won the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells earlier in the year, defeating Rafael Nadal in the process, while Baez strongly prefers to play on clay. With that, we’re rolling with Fritz, right?

In the words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast!”

While we’d like Fritz to win this match if he were at 100 percent health, he had to pull out of the Citi Open in the third set of his match against Daniel Evans, as he was dealing with some pain in his foot. That’s an injury that the American said he’s been dealing with since Wimbledon. A week later in Montreal, Fritz then lost to Evans in another three-setter. The 24-year-old has also noticeably had some struggles with the heat in recent weeks, and it is supposed to be pretty humid in Cincinnati.


Paris is just one click away

Paris is just one click away

Download the app to follow Roland Garros from first ball to last.

Facing Baez won't help matters. The 21-year-old hasn’t had any success on hard courts in his career, but he has a 27.0% break percentage and is going to make Fritz work for absolutely everything. The Argentinean embodies countryman Diego Schwartzman in that he is never out of a point, and he will make you hit an extra shot whenever he can. If Fritz is laboring at all, it wouldn’t be surprising if Baez can make this a highly competitive match.

Baez also has some sneaky power from the baseline. He might spend a lot of time playing defense during his matches, but if Fritz mishits anything, Baez will be able to put shots away. Also, despite this being a tournament in the U.S. it wouldn’t be too shocking if Baez ends up having some fans in his corner. Tennis crowds tend to appreciate an underdog that doesn’t quit and that’s exactly what Baez is.

We don’t have the confidence needed to back Baez to win this one outright, but we like him to take a set at plus-money.

The Pick: Baez To Win A Set (+120)