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Baghdatis back among the title winners in Sweden

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:48

Marcos Baghdatis claimed his third career title in Sweden, beating Olivier Rochus 6-1 7-5 to win the Stockholm Open.

The Cypriot’s victory over off-court friend and training partner Rochus is all the more remarkable, given that his entry had not been confirmed until after his performance in a Challenger event in Tashkent.

“They told me I was in, so I got on a plane right after the [Tashkent] final and here I am,” explained the world No.66 “I can’t say I was expecting this victory but it feels great. I’m really happy.

“I want to blow a kiss to my mother and godmother, thank you for coming,” Baghdatis added. “Olivier played great, he’s given so much on the court.”

Baghdatis reached the final after top seed and home favourite Robin Soderling withdrew because of an elbow injury, throwing his bid to qualify for the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

None of that should take away from Baghdatis’ performance. The 2006 Australian Open finalist has been sidelined with numerous injuries for the past two seasons, seeing his ranking slump dramatically from a career-high world No.8 i August 2006.

The Cypriot’s previous titles came in Beijing in 2006 and Zagreb in 2007.

“My goal is to stay healthy and try to play some consistent tennis,” Baghdatis said.

In the first set, Baghdatis broke to lead 3-1 and then 5-1. But it was closer than the score indicated with games four and six going to deuce before Rochus stepped up his challenge in the second set.

Baghdatis broke for the third and crucial time to lead 6-5 before a backhand down the line brought up double match point at 40-15. He then closed out the match with an ace.

Rochus said his serve let him down.

“My serve didn’t work as well as it had done earlier in the week,” he said. “I had a few too many double faults and had a lower first serve percentage, which cost me a lot. I came back well in the second set.

“If I had served a bit better I think I could have maybe taken it into a third set. I think the serve was the difference today but Marcos played very well. I can’t complain with my week, but of course it’s always disappointing to lose a final.”

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