Baghdatis, Hewitt Finding Old Magic in Oz
Marcos Baghdatis was the big upset winner on Thursday in Melbourne, coming back from 0-2 sets down and bursting with emotion upon clinching a 4-6, 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-1 victory over No. 17 seed David Ferrer at the Australian Open.
“It was great coming back. I’m a bit tired,” said Baghdatis, who won the title last week as an unseeded player in Sydney. “I had five matches in Sydney. Mentally it was tough today. I was a bit tired. Wake up and play the first match at 11 [a.m.]. I’m happy I went through, and that’s the most important thing. I found the solution to win.”
Cypriots and other fans chanted and sang to Baghdatis throughout the match.
“A lot of things,” Baghdatis said of what they sang. “Marcos, I love you. I will never stop singing for you. Stuff like this.”
The remainder of Thursday’s top results were rather routine, with top-seeded Roger Federer dropping only seven games against Romania’s Victor Hanescu, (3) Novak Djokovic topping Swiss Marco Chiudinelli in four, (6) Nikolay Davydenko popping Ukraine qualifier Illya Marchenko 6-3, 6-3, 6-0, (9) Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco losing only five games to Ivan Sergeyev of the Ukraine, and (10) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga overpowering American Taylor Dent in straights.
“Qualifying guys really don’t scare because nothing to lose,” says Davydenko, who is still figuring out who he can scare and who he can’t. “That’s what’s should be, I need to scare against these guys because I don’t know these guys, how he’s playing. That’s was is now different. It’s not like between guys Top 10 who is scare. This is now Top 10 and something 150 in the world. You know, it’s now different position.”
Federer said he enjoyed Prince William arriving to take in his match.
“I’m used to it because I play a lot of prime time matches where there are very important people watching. This one tonight was obviously extremely special. It’s a pleasure, of course, playing in front of him,” Federer said. “Where he comes from, he knows tennis, and Wimbledon’s big, you know. So for me it was very — I mean, a big honor that he came to watch me.”
Aussie favorite and No. 22 seed Lleyton Hewitt put down an early test from qualifier Donald Young, dismissing the American 7-6(3), 6-4, 6-1.
“He’s flashy and rides a bit of a wave for a few games, and then throws in a couple of suck games out of nowhere,” Hewitt said of Young, one of the “Next Great Americans” who never panned out. “He’s a lot better playing than his ranking is right at the moment. He obviously struggled with the expectation of being the next great hope for America for a while. He’s been 70-odd in the world, and won’t be long before he’s back there.”
Fine compliment, returning to the Top 70.
Other winners of note Thursday were (18) Tommy Haas over Janko Tipsarevic in five, (30) Juan Monaco coming from two sets down to defeat Michael Llodra, and (26) Nicolas Almagro almost blowing a two-set lead before topping Benjamin Becker in five.
Matches to look for Friday include (7) Andy Roddick vs. Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez, Florian “Oscar” Mayer vs. (injured?) (4) Juan Martin Del Potro, Philipp Kohlschreiber vs. (2) Rafael Nadal, the all-Croat in Ivo Karlovic vs. (24) Ivan Ljubicic, John Isner vs. (12) Gael “Force” Monfils, and (14) Marin Cilic vs. (19) Stan Wawrinka.
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