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Baghdatis downs Fed for “best win of my career”

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Originally published on: 17/03/10 11:18

“Seven is my lucky number” Marcos Baghdatis told the crowd at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden after stunning Roger Federer for his first victory in seven attempts against the world No.1.

The former Australian Open finalist – who lost to Federer in his only Grand Slam final appearance in 2006 – planted a kiss on the court after rallying back from the brink at the BNP Paribas Open to oust the three-time champion 5-7 7-5 7-6(4).

“Best win of my career,” enthused the gleeful 24-year-old after saving three match points in the second set. “I think that says everything. I cannot say I’m not happy. I’m very happy. A lot of emotions are going through right now.

“I lost a lot of matches against those top guys, and it’s a relief to win a match like that after being out for two years, having some tough moments. It’s a great moment for me. I’ll try to enjoy it.”

Baghdatis, whose previous biggest win was his scalp of then-world No.3 Andy Roddick at the 2006 Australian Open, survived two match points at 5-4 down in the second set, then saved another at 6-5 when Federer uncharacteristically netted a backhand on the third crucial point.

He doesn’t usually need telling twice, but that lapse was to be one of 46 unforced errors for the Swiss, who squandered a 4-1 advantage in the third set as the Cypriot broke back before finishing the job with a hammer-blow serve on match point in the resulting tie-break.

Federer, featuring in his first tournament since the Australian Open after being forced to pull out of Dubai due to illness, put his third round loss down to a lack of match practice.

“It was a decent match, but maybe wrong choices at the wrong time for me,” lamented the world No.1, who failed to find his usual consistency.

“Maybe going for too much, maybe playing too passively,” Federer reasoned as the cause of his defeat. “That’s not something you can really work on.

“That comes through playing matches, and that’s what I need. I hope to get more of it in Miami, but I will definitely play a lot of practice sets, that’s for sure, until then.”

“I think as the tournament would have gone forward I would have found my groove more and more, and who knows what would have happened?” added the 16-time Grand Slam champ. “But I don’t need to worry about that anymore.

With the Sony Ericsson Open just 10 days away, Federer plans some rest and recuperation ahead of launching an assault on his third title at the second Masters 1000 tournament of the year in Miami.

“It’s about resting because I do feel the first match in my body,” he said. “It’s something that always is tough, coming from a long layover and all of a sudden playing matches. But, the season is long. There’s no need to panic here.”

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