Update 11:33 pm Former finalist Marcos Baghdatis took care of top seed Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarterfinals of the Apia International Sydney Thursday night. The crowd-pleasing Cypriot won 7-6 (7), 6-4.
With a vocal crowd cheering him on Baghdatis fought back from a slow start to complete the victory in one hour and 40 minutes. He won here in 2010.
Del Potro, the last of the seeded players in the men’s draw, was clearly agitated by vocal sections of the crowd who were cheering on the popular Cypriot and had a lengthy discussion with court umpire Fergus Murphy at the end of the first set.
It did little good for the giant Argentine, who struggled to deal with Baghdatis’ tremendous defensive qualities in the second set.
Baghdatis made the decisive break in the seventh game of the second set, before serving out the match much to the fans’ approval.
The 26-year-old said he has enjoyed so much success at the tournament in part because he feels at home – and his nan’s cooking.
“I have lots of relatives here, my grandma lives here and I just love coming back every year,” he said after the match.
“My lebanese food from my grandma makes me feel good.”
Del Potro looked in control in the first set, having broken Baghdatis in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead.
But Baghdatis broke back soon after to make it 5-5, before both players held serve to force a tie-break.
Again del Potro took the early advantage and had two set points – but through brilliant defensive tennis, and with a bit of good fortune from the net, the scrappy Cypriot saved both and not long after only needed one set point of his own to take out the set.
Baghdatis was pleased to have improved from a hard-fought three-set victory over Australian Matthew Ebden in the previous round.
“I played great today, I had a not so good match yesterday in tough conditions and [my coach] just said to go for it and I went for it,” he said.
“I was playing really aggressive. It was great.”