Tue, Feb 06, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Baghdatis defeats local boy Ljubicic to claim Zagreb Open

AP , ZAGREB

Marcos Baghdatis won his second career title on Sunday by beating top-seeded Ivan Ljubicic 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-4 at the Zagreb Open.

The second-seeded Cypriot saved four break points in the opening set -- one with an ace and two others with service winners.

In the tiebreaker, Baghdatis jumped out to a 5-1 lead, but the defending champion rallied to close the gap to 5-4.

Home crowd

"Ljubicic is a tough player to break, but I was concentrated and served well when I needed to," Baghdatis said. "It's not easy to beat Ljubicic in front of his home crowd in Croatia."

Ljubicic, who lost in the first round of the Australian Open nine days after winning the Qatar Open, broke Baghdatis in the fifth game of the second set.

"I missed some good chances against him but he is a very strong player and it is not easy to turn the match around against someone of that quality," Ljubicic said.

Break points

Baghdatis saved another five break points in the final set, including one in the opening game.

After lobbing Ljubicic, Baghdatis hit a backhand that clipped the net on match point. It was the Cypriot's third straight win over Ljubicic.

"I played well all week and my confidence is on the rise," Baghdatis said. "Sometimes, like in the last point, you need a little bit of luck."

Baghdatis reached the final of last year's Australian Open, but was eliminated in the second round this year.

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