Rain man Baghdatis downs Gasquet in Sydney final
Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:52
The Marcos Baghdatis of old is heading to Melbourne Park after clinching the Medibank International title with 6-4 7-6(2) win over Richard Gasquet.
The Cypriot, who edged out Lleyton Hewitt and Mardy Fish earlier in the week to reach the final, overcame a 75-minute rain delay and a 5-2 second-set deficit against the Frenchman to seal his fourth career title.
Baghdatis now heads to the Australian Open with 16 wins in his past 17 matches, a run stretching back to back-to-back tournament victories in Tashkent and Stockholm in October 2009.
The 24-year-old will be unseeded at this year’s first Slam, just as he was in 2006 when he beat Andy Roddick and David Nalbandian before taking the first set from Roger Federer in the final.
After breaking in Gasquet’s opening service game, Baghdatis took the first set in 45 minutes before rain suspended play during the first game of the second set.
On their return to the court, Gasquet broke Baghdatis’ serve for the only time in the match in game four when the Cypriot double-faulted on break point.
The Frenchman led 5-3 and was serving to level the match when he had a shaky service game, slipping 0-40 down – and Baghdatis duly broke back, leveled and took the set to a tiebreaker.
Gasquet got the first mini-break in the tiebreaker to lead 2-0 before Baghdatis reeled off the next seven points to take the set and the title.
Gasquet served two double-faults and made two forehand errors to virtually hand the set and the match to Baghdatis.
Both players will see their rankings rise after their performances this week.
Baghdatis is fighting his way back up the rankings after climbing from No.100 at the end of 2008 to No. 42 last season. Gasquet, currently ranked No.53, will return to the top 50 when Monday’s rankings are announced.
Gasquet was bidding to become the first Frenchman since Guy Forget in 1991 to win the Sydney title, but succumbed to making too many errors at crucial times during the second set to see the match slip away.