Marcos pushed World No. 4 Andy Murray all the way, but was eventually beaten 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-4 by the Scot in the first round of the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships on Wednesday in Tokyo.
Like Marcos, Murray came into the match in a rich vein of form, having won his 19th ATP World Tour title last week in Bangkok. It was Marcos who made the better start to their fifth meeting, breaking to lead 2-0, but Murray responded immediately with the break back. Marcos had a set point chance in the 12th game, but could not convert and went on to lose the subsequent tie-break.
Marcos quickly put behind him the disappointment of his missed chances in the first set and raced to a 4-0 lead in the second set to level the match. He then capitalised on his momentum to gain an early break of serve in the third set. He could not maintain his lead, though, as Murray fought back to level in the sixth game before breaking Marcos again in a lengthy final game for victory in two hours and 33 minutes.
Marcos will now have a couple of weeks to practise before returning to action at the If Stockholm Open, which begins on 17th October.
In a first-round match between two players involved in finals on the ATP World Tour last week, Bangkok champion Andy Murray held off Kuala Lumpur runner-up Marcos Baghdatis to advance at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships with a 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-4 victory on Wednesday. Every singles match was played under retractable roof at the Ariake stadium.
After initially trailing by a break in the third set, Murray fought back and broke serve in the final game of the match to claim victory in two hours and 33 minutes. It was his second victory in five meetings with former World No. 8 Baghdatis.
"It was very tough and long," said Murray. "I did a lot of the running, especially in the first two sets. It was very different conditions from last week [in Bangkok]. I think he played very well. At the end of the third set, we were both playing good tennis, but in the first two he was the better player. Marcos is a very, very good player. He might not have played his best tennis so far this year, but he has been close to the Top 10 before. He has a lot of talent, a big serve and has many ways to hurt you on the court."
World No. 4 Murray has won 17 of his past 18 matches. Prior to capturing his 19th ATP World Tour title at the PTT Thailand Open last week (d. Young), the Scot reached the US Open semi-finals (l. to Nadal) and won the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati (d. Djokovic). The 24 year old is already assured of his place at the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.