• Baghdatis storms back, outlasts Ferrer in five

    1/21/10 5:23 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Baghdatis storms back, outlasts Ferrer in five Marcos Baghdatis recovers from a two-set deficit to overcome David Ferrer in the second round of the Australian Open on Thursday afternoon. Baghdatis now awaits either Lleyton Hewitt or Donald Young.

    Given his current form, Marcos Baghdatis looks poised to make another memorable run in Melbourne. If he does, his second-round showdown with David Ferrer will go down as the unofficial start of his fortnight.

    After destroying Paolo Lorenzi in round one, Baghdatis mounted an epic charge from two sets and a break down to defeat Ferrer 4-6, 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-1 on Thursday afternoon at the Australian Open. The 2006 tournament runner-up needed four hours and nine minutes to set up a third-round clash against either Lleyton Hewitt or Donald Young.

    Baghdatis seemed to control play throughout the majority of a competitive opening set, but he failed to capitalize on any of five break chances. The unseeded Cypriot did not face a single break point throughout his first four service games, but Ferrer suddenly came alive when it mattered most. With Baghdatis serving to stay in the set, Ferrer converted his first break-point opportunity of the afternoon to seize a one-set advantage.

    Perhaps stunned by dropping the first frame of play almost out of nowhere, Baghdatis collapsed in the second. He served at just 56 percent and sprayed a whopping 18 unforced errors. Ferrer simply tracked down shot after shot while keeping balls in play, and even though he surrendered serve once, he added two more breaks of his own. The 18th-ranked Spaniard closed it out on serve at 5-3 for a two-set lead.

    A dramatic third set saw Ferrer seize a quick break advantage, seemingly on his way to what would have been a stunning straight-set victory. Never one to go down with out a fight, Baghdatis struck back at 3-4 to level things at four apiece. From there Ferrer did extremely well just to take set three to a tiebreaker. Starting to favor his upper left leg, he battled through a tense service game at 4-5, then saved an incredible set point at 5-6 that featured herculean efforts from both men before ending when a Baghdatis drop-shot sailed wide.

    Ferrer soon forced a 'breaker, but Baghdatis was quick to gain control. An exquisitely angled forehand winner gave him an immediate mini-break for 2-0, and Ferrer promptly fell apart. Melbourne's No. 17 seed saved two more set points after falling behind 6-2, but another forehand error gave Baghdatis the set and extended the drama to a fourth.

    With momentum in hand for the first time all day, Baghdatis was not about to throw it away. The world No. 31 broke serve for an immediate 1-0 lead in set four and consolidated the advantage the rest of the way. For good measure--and to ensure that he could start the final frame of play with serve--he earned another break at 5-3, clinching it with a scorching down-the-line forehand winner. Baghdatis dropped only seven points in four service games while winning 10 of 11 first-serve points.

    Baghdatis had his left leg tended to by the trainer for apparent cramps after holding for 1-0 in the fifth set, but the move appeared to be a preventive measure. He soon capitalized on his second break chance at 2-1 for an overwhelming advantage. Playing his best tennis of the afternoon just as Ferrer began to crumble mentally, Baghdatis soon extended the lead to 5-1.

    Invoking memories of Baghdatis' five-set loss to Andre Agassi in the second round of the 2006 U.S. Open, the cramps finally came and brought the Cypriot to his knees before he could serve for the match. Fighting through it, however, Baghdatis produced a series of brilliant, high-risk shots and found away to close out his comeback victory.

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Ricky you had this up pretty fast ... I really thought Ferrer was going to take this in 3 but Baghdatis' was just as fiesty as David can be sometimes. Good match.

smr , 1/21/10 6:22 AM

for matches like this you have to write as its going on, then publish right when it ends!

some amazing stuff at times from Baghdatis in that 5th set. Great drama at the end even though it was 6-1.

I have a feeling the 5-set thrillers Down Under are just beginning...

RickyDimon , 1/21/10 6:42 AM

usually 5th set thrillers involve nadal. but this was a great match. i forgot how good baghdatis can be.

attackingtennisrulez , 1/21/10 9:13 AM

i wish i'd stayed up to watch this now. i thought it was all over in the 3rd and went to bed

Sib69 , 1/21/10 10:34 AM

Thanks for sending me down there Ricky! You neglected to mention that the crowd is one thing that always gets Baghdaddy through in this part of town - his enormous extended family and entire Greek community go wild and there is nothing he can do to not win! Can't wait to see him up against Lleyton this weekend... should be a ripper, though hopefully we can get some more sleep than the last one.

RisheG , 1/21/10 12:37 PM

Good on the Baghman for that comeback. Both men played well. VERY enjoyable match.

cherylmurray , 1/21/10 1:55 PM

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