Marcos Baghdatis Ready To Bow Out Of Wimbledon With No Regrets - UBITENNIS
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Marcos Baghdatis Ready To Bow Out Of Wimbledon With No Regrets

Why retirement is a time for celebration for the former top-10 player.

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Marcos Baghdatis - Wimbledon 2018 (photo Roberto Dell'Olivo)

WIMBLEDON: Finalising his preparations for his 14th main draw appearance at Wimbledon, Marcos Baghdatis admits that there is a strong chance that tears will be flowing over the coming days.

 

It will be at The All England Club where his career will come to a close after almost 15 years on the ATP Tour. Setting milestones that had previously never been achieved by anybody in his home country. He is the only Cypriot to have ever contested either the semi-final or final of a grand slam. Doing so at the 2006 Australian Open, where he finished runner-up. A former world No.1 junior, he would go on to rise to a best of eighth on the professional tour and win a quartet of ATP titles.

Now aged 34 and ranked 138th in the world, the time has come for Baghdatis to end his time as a player. He was given the ability to do so at Wimbledon after being handed a wildcard into the main draw.

“It wasn’t a sudden decision. I would have never taken such a sudden decision to leave a sport I love.” Baghdatis explained on Sunday.
“It’s been coming for a while with my team and my wife and everything came this year. The news of us (my family) expecting a third child and me not being happy about where I have been (on the tour) over the past 18 months.”

The selection of Wimbledon as the venue of his farewell tournament wasn’t random. His first ever memory of watching tennis on the TV was Andre Agassi winning the title back in 1992. His first ever at grand slam level.

“The first ever match I saw on the TV was Andre Agassi against Goran Ivanisevic in the final back in 1992. I was seven-years-old.” Baghdatis recounts.
“I’ve had some great runs here, even though I never reached the final as I did at the Australian Open. My results here are much more consistent.’
“It’s the most historical place to play tennis and I can not be more grateful to be able to retire here.”

Baghdatis’ best result at Wimbledon occurred 13 years ago when he defeated Lleyton Hewitt on route to the semi-finals. 12 months later he also reached the quarter-finals. Heading into this year, he has won 21 matches at the tournament. Making it his second most successful grand slam after the Australian Open.

Whilst relishing in a career that many others would have loved to achieve, Baghdatis’ achievements took place in the shadows of the Big Four. A quartet of players who have dominated men’s tennis for almost two decades. Winning every Wimbledon title between them for the past 16 years.

“I do feel privileged to play with them not once or twice, but many times. To compete and win against them,” he said.

Impressively, the only member of the Big Four to not suffer a loss to Baghdatis is world No.1 Novak Djokovic. Who dominates their head-to-head 8-0.

“I was very close (to winning) a lot of times. We had some great battles.” The world no.138 reflects.
“He kind of has the same game as me, but a bit better. Maybe that is the reason (why I have never beaten him). I couldn’t find a way to disrupt his game.”

Baghdatis vs Big Four
Djokovic 0-8
Federer 1-7
Nadal 1-9
Murray 3-5

Whilst he may not have reached the level of success as the likes of Federer and Co, the 34-year-old has few regrets about his career. On the ATP Tour he has scored 348 wins, 22 of those were against top 10 opposition.

“If I did things differently, my life might have been different. I don’t think I would have changed anything. I am very happy with my life in general.” He explained.
“I could have done better for sure, but anybody could say that.”

Baghdatis’ final tournament will get underway on Tuesday at Wimbledon. His first round opponent will be Canada’s Brayden Schnur, who came through qualifying. Regardless of the outcome, the infectious smile on Baghdatis’ face will remain. Something he is known for and will be missed by both fans and rivals in the sport.

“I’m looking forward to the future. For me, there is life after tennis. I enjoyed this long journey so much and I think there are more exciting times after tennis.”

 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas, Gilles Simon and Felix Auger Aliassime reach the the semifinal in Marseille

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Defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas edged past Vasek Pospisil 7-5 6-3 after 1 hour and 17 minutes to reach the semifinal at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille.

 

Both players stayed neck and neck until 5-5, before Tsitsipas earned his first break, when Pospisil hit a backhand long. The Greek star wrapped up the first set with an ace after 45 minutes.

Tsitsipas claimed his second break at 3-3 with a backhand return and reeled off 10 consecutive points to seal the second set 6-3.

Tsitsipas fired 8 aces and won 26 of his 30 first service points.

“It was not easy. I knew I would have to fight and be dynamic. He plays a very aggressive brand of tennis, so every point has to be treated respectfully. I played with passion and patience, and my fighting spirit, when I am in the right zone. It means good things can happen”, said Tsitsipas.

Gilles Simon cruised through to an upset 6-4 6-0 win over Danil Medvedev to advance to the semifinal. Simon converted five of his six break point chances and lost his serve only once.

The French veteran will take on Felix Auger Aliassime, who beat Egor Gerasimov 7-5 6-2. The young Canadian star broke serve four times and and won 83 % of his first serve points.

Gerasimov earned an early break in the first game to open up a 2-0 lead, but Auger Aliassime came back by winning two consecutive games to win the opening set 7-5. Auger Aliassime converted his fourth break point in the second game to open up a 3-0 lead and sealed the second set with another break in the eighth game.

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Alexander Bublik reaches his third career semifinal with win over Denis Shapovalov in Marseille

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Alexander Bublik reached the third ATP Tour semifinal of his career after beating Canadian Canadian Next Gen player Denis Shapovalov 7-5 4-6 6-3 after 2 hours and 18 minutes at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille.

 

Bublik fended off a total of four break points in the first set, including three chances from 0-40, got the break in the 12th game to close out the first set 7-5, when Shapovalov hit a forehand volley wide at 30-40 after 45 minutes.

Both players traded breaks at the start of the second set. Bublik did not convert three break points at 3-2, when he hit a forehand into the net on his first break point chance. Shapovalov broke serve in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead with a drop shot and wrapped up the second set with his third ace.

Bublik opened up a 2-0 lead with a break in the second game of the third set. Shapovalov broke straight back in the third game. Bublik got another break lead in the eighth lead at 15, when Shapovalov hit a forehand wide. Bublik sealed the win with a hold at love.

“He is a great player and serve. It was our first match, but I have known him for a very long time. I was happy to break in the first set, then in the second set he was better, and I had my chances in the third and I held on. So I am very happy”,said Bublik.

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Milos Raonic, Steve Johnson, Frances Tiafoe and Ugo Humbert reach the quarter final in Delray Beach

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Milos Raonic hit 11 aces and saved the three break points he faced to beat German Cedrik Marcel Stebe 7-5 6-3 after 1 hour and 36 minutes reaching the quarter final at the Delray Beach, an ATP Tour 250 tournament.

 

Raonic earned a break in each set. Stebe earned a break point in the ninth game with a forehand down the line, but Raonic saved it with a forehand. Raonic faced two more break points in the 11th game, but Raonic saved them with service winners. Raonic earned a break with a forehand down the line winner in the 12th game to close out the first set 7-5. Raonicwon four consecutive points on return to earn a break and closed out the match 6-3 with a hold of serve.

“I got lucky through that first set and then I tried to be a bit more aggressive, create more things and that put a bit more pressure on him. It opened up the match for me a bit more”, said Raonic.

Raonic set up a quarter final against Steve Johnson, who edged past his compatriot Jack Sock 6-4 5-7 6-1 after 2 hours and 5 minutes to reach his first quarter final at ATP Tour level in six months. Johnson came back from losing the second set by racing out to a 5-0 lead.

“This is just one of those tournaments where you feel comfortable coming back every year. It’s great to see Sock back. I thought he played a really good second set and I just got bit of a momentum in the third set”, said Johnson.

French Next Gen player Ugo Humbert edged Miomir Kecmanovic 6-4 7-6 (8-6) after 1 hour and 42 minutes to reach his third quarter final in 2020. Humbert fended off eight of the ten break points he faced and earned three breaks to win the last four games of the first set from 2-4 down. Humbert broke Kecmanovic, as the Serbian player was serving for the second set at 6-5. The Frenchman saved a set point and came back from 5-6 down by winning the final three points of the tie-break to clinch the win after 1 hour and 43 minutes. Humbert has improved his win-loss record this year to 8-3.

“It’s always tough to play against Miomir, because he is a great player. He always plays at a high level. I lost to him last week and I was a little bit stressed before the match, so I am very happy to get the win today. You have to enjoy the victory because it’s not easy every week. Winning in Auckland gave me a lot of confidence. I beat some great players, but I have to continue my improvement every day”,said Humbert.

Humbert will face US player Frances Tiafoe, who battled past Tommy Paul 7-5 7-6 (7-4). Both players stayed neck and neck in the first set until the 11th game when Tiafoe earned a break with a return winner. He served out the set 7-5 with a service winner in the 12th game.

Paul earned a break in the sixth game, but he dropped his serve, while he serving for the set at 5-3. Tiafoe closed out the match with a backhand crosscourt winner at 6-4 in the tie-break.

“It’s never easy playing a good friend. It’s awkward, but I thought it was a pretty good match overall. My forehand was definitely on, so that helped. I am starting to play good tennis again and just competing hard in every match”,said Tiafoe.  

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