Marcos Baghdatis’ Final Words As A Tennis Player - UBITENNIS
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Marcos Baghdatis’ Final Words As A Tennis Player

This week marks the end of an era for one of the most well-known figures within men’s tennis.

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photo by Roberto Dell'Olivo

WIMBLEDON: Taking to the number two show court Marcos Baghdatis knew that this could be the end for him on Thursday.

 

Almost 15 years after getting his maiden main draw grand slam win at the 2004 US Open, the Cypriot elected to choose The All England club as the place to say goodbye. It was the first tournament he saw on TV, watching Andrew Agassi win his maiden grand slam title back in 1992. Something Baghdatis was unable to emulate as a player, but he did reach the 2006 Australian Open final. Becoming the first and only player from his country to ever do so.

“Every year I come here (to Wimbledon), it’s a beautiful memory.” Said Baghdatis.
“I felt it was time to stop, to give priority to other things in my life. I cannot thank enough the tournament for supporting me and giving me a wildcard. Giving me the chance to say good-bye to the fans and to the sport that I love in this great event.”

After defeating Canada’s Brayden Schnur in his opening match, the second round was much more difficult. His opponent was 17th seed Matteo Berrettini. 11 years younger than Baghdatis, the Italian has only ever lost two tour-level matches to a player ranked lower than him. Furthermore, Berrettini won all five of his meetings with wild cards heading into the match.

The evening match went according to paper with the Italian dropping serve only once on route to a 6-1, 7-6(4), 6-3, triumph. Nevertheless, the crowd roared and cheered the Cypriot on from the start until the very end.

“I didn’t want to leave the court. It was a nice farewell. It felt amazing. I want to thank everybody for staying and giving me that last emotion.”

https://twitter.com/Wimbledon/status/1146845062132895744

The loss denied the 34-year-old a chance to get his 50th win over a top 20 player before he retired. Nevertheless, Baghdatis’ achievements are ones that have inspired his entire region. Between 2003-2016 he won 36 consecutive Davis Cup matches. A benchmark that has been achieved by no other player in the history of the competition. At his best, he was ranked eighth in the world and finished 12 straight seasons ranked in the top 100. As for trophies on the ATP Tour, he claimed four titles in Beijing, Zagreb, Stockholm, and Sydney over a four-year period.

“Marcos is one of the most gifted, most positive people you’ll ever meet. He shows it on the court. He has this vibe where it kind of feels like life is more important than tennis, which I love to see.” Stefanos Tsitsipas said in a tribute.
“I believe he’s underrated. He deserved more. But things worked this way. The fact that he did semifinals Wimbledon, finals in Australian Open, was a big thing not just for him but also for his country. He came from a really small country, with zero history in tennis, with zero tradition in that sport.”

The ending of Baghdatis’ career on July 4th was on the 15th anniversary of one sporting event that inspired his career. A strange, but fitting coincidence. As he ventures into the world outside of professional tennis, the 34-year-old hopes his career will have an impact on those in his country.

The 4th of July, 2004, Greece won the European Championship in soccer, and that’s the impact that tournament gave me. The impact that I can believe in myself and I can achieve anything.’ He reflects.
“And I’m retiring on the 4th of July, 2019. And I think that says everything. I leave a legacy behind, the same legacy I got from the team of 2004 in Portugal, I leave this legacy behind to some kids in Cyprus or Greece.”

From next week, Cyprus will have one only one player with an ATP ranking. That is Petros Chrysochos, who is currently 506th in the world.

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Basel 2019 Preview: Roger Federer Targets Record As Rivals Looks To Qualify For ATP Finals

Federer is on a quest for a 10th title in Basel and could play an all-Swiss quarter-final against countryman Stan Wawrinka later this week.

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This year in Basel the competition is at its top, with two spots yet to be reserved in the race to the ATP Nitto Finals.

 

Roger Federer, who could make a 13th final in Basel this year, will commence his campaign against qualifier Peter Gojowczyk in the first quarter. In the second round the 20-time grand slam champion could play either Radu Albot or Dusan Lajovic, whom he has a clean head-to-head profile against.

Meanwhile European Open finalist, who just lost to comeback kid Andy Murray in Antwerp, Stan Wawrinka is facing the Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas in the first round. Should he take off with a win, he would face either Frances Tiafoe or Daniel Evans before he could set a clash with last year’s Basel champion in quarter-finals.

Generally it could be theoretically an easy contest for Federer, who has a H2H profile of 23 wins to three loses against Wawrinka with 17 of them on hard-courts. However Wawrinka is in good form after making his second final of the year last week after Rotterdam in February.

The second quarter sees one player who has guaranteed his debut at the ATP Nitto Finals. Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas regained some of his good tennis during the Asian Swing where he ousted the World No.1 Novak Djokovic in Shanghai to reserve a place at the ATP Nitto Finals. Tsitsipas is taking on Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the first round. Only one meeting has taken place between the two on the ATP Tour in Barcelona last year with the Greek winning it. Then he could play either qualifier Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis or Pablo Andujar in the second round.

However, there is another player in this quarter, who is still trying to make it to the ATP Nitto Finals. Fabio Fognini had a disappointment last week when he lost in his first match in Stockholm after making the quarter-finals in Shanghai before losing to Daniil Medvedev. The Italian is starting against  Alexei Popyrin then he could face either Laslo Djere or Filip Krajinovic, who made it the final in Stockholm before losing to Shapovalov. Fognini is in the 11th position in the race to London, going after countryman Matteo Berrettini, 8th position, with a gap of 290 points.

Should a quarter-final between Tsitsipas and Fognini occur, the Greek leads in their previous confrontations 2-0.

Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut is in the third quarter. He has been in bad form these past couple months, but is only 40 points behind Berrettini in the race to London. Should the Spaniard want to make his debut at the O2 Arena this year, he has to be pretty much on form as he opens against Marius Copil. Who showed a very good form in Antwerp last week and possess a big serve that could be an obstacle to a lot of players. The winner of that match will face either the Frenchman Richard Gasquet or Argentine Juan Ignacio Londero in the second round.

Still in the third quarter, another player is in the run for a spot at the ATP Nitto Finals with 90 points behind the Italian Matteo Berrettini. It’s David Goffin, who is taking off in Basel against former US Open champion Marin Cilic in what could be a thrilling match, but the Croatian isn’t in good form recently. Goffin would face either the big serving Reilly Opelka or Chile’s Cristian Garin in the second round, should he get past Cilic.

Second seed Alexander Zverev takes on Taylor Fritz in the opening round in what could be a tricky match in the fourth quarter. Zverev, who has had a very tough season this year and recorded his first top-10 win just days ago in Shanghai against Federer, has gained in momentum  significantly after his participation in Laver Cup a few weeks ago. He is now in the 7th position in the race to the O2 Arena after reaching the final in Shanghai, which he lost to Medvedev in straight sets. He has either Alex De Minaur or Hugo Dellien in the second round with possibly Benoit Paire or Germany’s Struff in the quarter-final.

The Frenchman Benoit Paire is opening against the wild card holder Henri Laaksonen, should he cruise to the second round, he would face either Jan-Lennard Struff or Miomir Kecmanovic.

Full draw

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Stefanos Tsitsipas On Why His US Open Early Exit Was ‘The Best Thing To Ever Happen’

The Greek No.1 sees a silver lining to one of his latest losses on the tour.

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Losing in the first round of a grand slam isn’t something players are normally happy to talk about. However, for Stefanos Tsitsipas he doesn’t think he would be where he is now if he didn’t suffer an early loss at this year’s US Open.

 

The Greek player was seeded ninth in the draw at Flushing Meadows. He fell at the first hurdle to Russia’s Anrey Rublev in four sets, who went on to reach the fourth round of the major. Tsitsipas has endured a mixture of results in the grand slams this season. In January he scored his first major breakthrough by defeating Roger Federer on route to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. However, his runs in the majors has got worse as the season progressed. Losing in the fourth round of the French Open, followed by the first round at Wimbledon. Ironically Tsitsipas believes believes it is his US Open misfortunes that has had the biggest impact on him.

”It was probably the best thing that ever happened to me,” Tsitsipas told atptour.com. “I stayed in New York for six or seven days after and it gave me time to discover new things. It was important for me to enjoy and realise what I needed in my life.
”It was my decision to live life how I wanted to, not how others wanted me to. There was a time last summer when I doubted myself, [thought] that I wasn’t interesting as a person. I wanted to be someone else, but now I understand that it’s awesome to be myself.”

During the Asian swing the 21-year-old won seven out of nine matches played (excluding retirements). Reaching the final of the China Open and the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters. It was the first time he has reached the last four at two consecutive tournaments since May (Madrid and Rome).

Tsitsipas is hoping to continue his surge in form this week at the Swiss Indoors in Basel. He will be seeded third in the draw behind nine-time champion Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev. The world No.7 is yet to win an ATP 500 tournament. Something he hopes to change over the coming days.

“I’m currently in the best state of my life,” he declared. “It doesn’t have to do with results or playing good tennis or bad tennis. I’ve been feeling very happy and very well. I’ve been enjoying life more in general and that reflects in my game. It makes me happy and makes me want to live better.”

Already qualified for the ATP Finals, Tsitsipas is hoping to end what has been a roller coaster season on a high. He has achieved a win-loss record of 49-22 so far this year (including Davis Cup), but has also lost his opening match at eight tournaments.

“I think it’s normal to have ups and downs and I learned a lot this year.” He told reporters on Sunday during a press conference. “I’m looking forward to playing in Basel, Paris and London and hope to go as far as possible.”

In Basel, Tsitsipas will open up his campaign on Tuesday against Spain’s Albert Ramos-Viñolas. A player he beat in straight sets during last year’s Barcelona Open.

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Andreas Seppi upsets Karen Khachanov in another three-set marathon match in Moscow

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Thirty-five year-old Italian veteran Andreas Seppi came back from one set down to beat Karen Khachanov 3-6 6-3 6-3 in the quarter final of the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

 

Seppi confirmed his reputation as a marathon man by winning all of his matches this week in three sets during this week’s edition of the Kremlin Cup.

Khachanov broke serve twice to win the first set 6-3. The young Russian player did not convert four break points, when Seppi was serving at 4-3. Seppi broke serve in the ninth game to set up a third set when Khachanov hit a forehand into the net.

Khachanov got an early break at 30 in the first game of the decisive set. Seppi broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Seppi won 12 of the last 14 points and broke serve in the eighth game with a forehand passing shot. The Italian served out the win on his second match point in the ninth game.

Seppi set up a semifinal against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, who beat fourth seeded Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (7-3) 6-1.

Marin Cilic reached his first semifinal of the season with a 6-4 4-6 7-6 (7-2) over Jeremy Chardy one day after scoring his milestone 500th win this season. Cilic did not convert a match point at 5-4 but he won the tie-break 7-2 after 2 hours and 12 minutes setting up a semifinal against home favourite Andrey Rublev, who cruised past Nikola Milojevic 6-2 6-3 reaching his second semifinal of the year.

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