it’s once again time to count the minutes; bet365 offers live streaming.
having beaten Mardy Fish on the Australian soil twice in a row, last year in Melbourne and last week in Brisbane, Marcos should be a tiny bit worried… as we Greeks say, “once for the thief, twice for the thief, three and it's his bad day”… Marcos was amazing in last year’s match, outplaying Fish at the net, and forced him to play baseline, just unreal… hope Marcos keeps his cool on court and let his tennis do the talking…
Marcos Baghdatis’s love affair with the Australian tennis public continued on Friday as the popular Cypriot booked his place in the final of the Medibank International Sydney with a tremendous three-set victory battle with American Mardy Fish.
Baghdatis prevailed 6-4 6-7 (7-5) 7-6 (7-5) against the big-serving Fish in an arm wrestle of a match that lasted a little under three hours.
The 2006 Australian Open finalist will now meet Richard Gasquet, who beat fellow Frenchman Julien Benneteau in the other semi-final, on Ken Rosewall Arena on Saturday.
Baghdatis spurned a match point in the second set and Fish took advantage of his reprieve to clinch the tiebreak 7-5.
The deciding set followed a similar pattern and, although both players broke serve early on, it took a second tiebreak to decide the winner with Baghdatis finally coming out on top against the world No.55 after squandering two further match points.
World No.53 Gasquet beat Benneteau 6-3 7-5 to qualify for his first final at this event after falling at the semi-final stages in 2009 and 2007, and showed glimpses of the form that took him to No.7 in the world three years ago.
Gasquet’s name was tarnished last May when he was banned for two-and-a-half months after traces of cocaine were found in his system, forcing him out of Wimbledon and the French Open.
His form after his return to action in July was indifferent as his ranking fell to 72 in October last year, as the World Anti Doping Authority’s (WADA) stepped up its push for a two-year ban for the 23-year-old.
However, that was thrown out by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last month after it upheld Gasquet’s claim that the small traces of drug had found its way into his system after he kissed a girl in a Miami nightclub.
The former Wimbledon semi-finalist insists he is now playing for fun and with the weight of the world off his shoulders.
“It’s tough to come back, it’s hard in the head, so it was really tiring, more tiring than playing 100 matches for sure,” he said of his ordeal. “But I don’t care. I know it’s hard, but I want to play just for fun. That’s why I’m here and I’m enjoying myself.”
Gasquet Closes On End Of Title Drought; Baghdatis Battles Past Fish
Sydney, Australia by ATP Staff | 14.01.2010
Frenchman Richard Gasquet is one win away from capturing his first ATP World Tour title since September 2007 after defeating countryman Julien Benneteau 6-4, 7-5 Friday in the semi-finals of the Medibank International Sydney, an ATP World Tour 250 hard-court tennis tournament.
World No. 53 Gasquet, who climbed as high as No. 7 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings on 9 July, 2007, is through to his first ATP World Tour final since finishing runner-up to Juan Martin del Potro at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart in July, 2008.
The 23 year old has won five ATP World Tour titles, triumphing most recently in Mumbai (d. O. Rochus) in September 2007. He is through to the Sydney final for the first time after twice falling at the semi-final stage in 2007 (l. to Moya) and 2009 (l. to Nalbandian).
While it was his fourth straight-sets win of the week, it was not a smooth ride for Gasquet to beat the No. 45-ranked Benneteau in Sydney for a second time. The Beziers native edged a close first set, featuring three breaks of serve, but found himself 3-5 down in the second set. Benneteau was unable to level the match, though, and Gasquet hit back to claim to the final four games of the match to prevail after one hour and 39 minutes.
"I'm really happy because I won. It wasn't a great match, not an incredible level," said Gasquet. "I was a little bit tired in the second set, but I tried to play. I was a little bit lucky. I saved three set points on my serve after I broke him, so I played well on the big points. On the really important points I played better than him. I played some good shots at 5-4, and that made the difference.
"I'm in the final in Sydney on a great court, at a great tournament. I have no pressure with it. Just to play my game."
Gasquet has begun the 2010 ATP World Tour season in strong form, opening last week with a quarter-final effort at the Brisbane International, where he lost out to eventual champion Andy Roddick. Last year he compiled a 22-15 mark, with his best results four semi-final finishes.
In the final Gasquet will face Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, who battled past American Mardy Fish 6-4, 6-7(7), 7-6(5) in two hours and 57 minutes to reach his eighth tour-level final.
Gasquet vs. Baghdatis: Head-to-Head
It will be the first meeting between the pair. “It's very surprising because we played a lot of years together,” said Gasquet. “He's a nice guy and friend of mine. He lived in Paris, so I know him very well.”
“We used to play juniors together,” recalled Baghdatis. “He's a great player and he has a lot of talent. He looks like he worked hard this winter, and he's playing great tennis. I guess I'll enjoy my victory for today, and start thinking about the match for tomorrow.”
Baghdatis is looking to win his second ATP World Tour title in his past three tournaments, having closed 2009 with victory at the If Stockholm Open (d. O. Rochus). The 24 year old, who reached the Australian Open final (l. to Federer) in 2006, has a 3-4 mark in tour-level finals.
Baghdatis, who defeated Fish in the first round of the Brisbane International last week, could have sewn up victory in two sets when he held a match point at 6-5 on Fish’s serve in the second-set tie-break, having also led by a break of serve earlier in the set. The Limassol native miscued a forehand, though, and Fish hit back to level the match.
World No. 55 Fish twice led by a break of serve in the deciding set, but he squandered his leads at 1-0 and 3-2 as Baghdatis fought back to force another tie-break, which he won 7-5 to claim victory.
“It was a tough one, and a bit of pressure today with the draw of the [Australian] Open and everything,” conceded the No. 42-ranked Baghdatis “So [there was] a bit of pressure. I had to stay concentrated, and I tried. I had some moments of the match that I lost my concentration, but the most important thing is that I won the match and I'm playing a final tomorrow, so that's pretty positive.”
counting the minutes; bet365 offers live streaming.
love both Marcos and Richie, Marcos’ exhilarating soulfulness and Richie’s exuberant eclecticism, not to mention their capability to be great tennis players… they’ve met in the final of the junior event at the US Open in 2002, back then Richie won 7-5 6-2…
and Richie’s interview, yeah, it is a nostalgic look back… now they’re trying their best, no doubt…
Baghdatis Wins Fourth Title, Beats Gasquet In Sydney
Sydney, Australia by ATP Staff | 16.01.2010
Cypriot World No. 42 Marcos Baghdatis won his fourth ATP World Tour title Saturday after defeating Richard Gasquet of France 6-4, 7-6(2) in the Medibank International Sydney final, which lasted one hour and 44 minutes. It was the second unseeded Sydney final in the past three years.
The 24-year-old Baghdatis earned $67,250 in prize money and 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings points, while Gasquet picked up $35,400 and 150 points.
Baghdatis donated $5,000 of his prize money to the World Vision Australia Haiti Earthquake Appeal. "The situation in Haiti is really, really sad," said Baghdatis. "I have seen the pictures on the news and it is just horrific. I want to send my condolences to everyone affected by the earthquake."
Baghdatis clinched the first set 6-4, courtesy of a service break in the first game. Both players won 67 per cent of service points and 33 per cent of points on return of serve, but one service break make the difference in the 45-minute opener.
The 23-year-old Gasquet was serving at 0/30 in the first game of the second set, when rain interrupted play. After a considerable delay, Gasquet opened up a 4-1 lead with a service break in the fourth game.
Gasquet, who had not dropped a set en route to his 12th ATP World Tour final (5-7), served for the second set at 5-3 but fell to 0/40. "I served a bad game, and I was in big trouble in the tie-break," he said.
Baghdatis grew in confidence and despite trailing 0/2 in the tie-break, the Cypriot won seven points in a row to capture his first ATP World Tour title since 25 October 2009 at the If Stockholm Open (d. O. Rochus). He is now 4-4 lifetime in singles finals.
"It's confidence building," admitted Baghdatis, who reached the 2006 Australian Open final. "I felt pretty good on court. I have some things to work on still. I have tomorrow and Monday to work on my serve, [my] first serve percentage. [That's] the only thing that worries me a bit.
"I felt great. It's my brother's birthday, and I wanted to win for him also. It's been two years tough for him. So I'm very happy that I won today and can dedicate this win to him."
Gasquet, currently No. 53 in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings, was attempting to become the first Frenchman to win the Sydney title since Guy Forget (d. Stich) in 1991. Gasquet's last ATP World Tour title came at Mumbai on 30 September 2007.
"I feel confident for Australian Open, even if I have tough draw," said Gasquet. "I'm disappointed, because it's always difficult to lose a final.
"He just played better than me. Even if I was really close in the second, I couldn't win it. I don't know what happened [in the tie-break]."
Cypriot fan favourite Marcos Baghdatis has won his fourth career and first Australian title at the Medibank International Sydney, defeating Frenchman Richard Gasquet.
World No. 42 Baghdatis won the rain-interrupted final 6-4 7-6(2) in front of vocal and enthusiastic crowd at Ken Rosewall Arena at the Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre.
Baghdatis, who was buoyed by the Greek Cypriot crowd support in the final, dropped to the ground in celebration of his win and said he loved visiting Australia.
“I have great support here. People are very friendly and nice,” Baghdatis said.“I’m very happy that I won today.”
Baghdatis dedicated the win to his brother who is celebrating his birthday and also donated $5000 of his prizemoney to the World Vision Earthquake appeal.
Gasquet said that his opponent played well and deserved the win.
“I preferred to win this tournament,” Gasquet said. “But I lost to Marcos, a great player. He played well and played a good game.”
Baghdatis got off to a flying start breaking Gasquet in the opening game, much to the delight of the spirited Ken Rosewall Arena crowd.
He held onto the break to take the first set 6-4, before the heavens opened and forced a 75 minute rain interruption.
Gasquet was the one that came out firing in the second set racing out to a 5-2 lead before the Cypriot fought his way back to level at 6 games all.
Nerves got the better of the Frenchman as Gasquet served consecutive double faults to give Baghdatis three match points.
Baghdatis only needed one as he took the tiebreak 7 points to 2 and the Medibank International Sydney title.
Earlier in the day top seeds Daniel Nestor (Can) and Nenad Zimonjic (SRB) defeated unseeded pair Ross Hutchins (GBR) and Jordan Kerr (AUS) 6-3 7-6(2) to win their first Medibank International Sydney title as a team.