Fri, Oct 24, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Baghdatis smiles despite defeat at Swiss tournament

AFP , BASEL, SWITZERLAND

Former finalist Marcos Baghdatis lost 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 to Marcel Granollers at the Swiss Indoors on Wednesday, but emerged smiling after finally completing a match following injury.

The Cypriot, who played the final three years ago against Fernando Gonzalez, couldn’t hide his renewed optimism — even in defeat — after failing to complete his last two matches over the past month.

“I’m not happy to lose, but it’s great to finally finish one,” Baghdatis said. “It shows I’m back on the Tour.”

The 43rd-ranked Baghdatis was playing his first event since retiring in a first-round clash against Ivo Karlovic with a back injury three weeks ago at Metz, when he had to be stretchered off court.

TREATMENT

The Cypriot took treatment on his left thigh during the second set as he was laid on the sidelines by the trainer.

“It’s part of the back problem, the doctors tell me I will feel pain for the next month. I’ll know how it went for me when I wake up tomorrow,” he said.

After missing 2006 in Basel, Baghdatis went out in the semi-finals a year ago to Finn Jarkko Nieminen, who claimed a spot opposite Roger Federer in the second round with a 6-2, 6-4 defeat of Argentine Eduardo Schwank.

Baghdatis saved two set points in favor of Granollers in the tenth game to level at a set each.

But the Spaniard got the early break and one more for insurance to easily ride out a convincing victory, and will face Italian Simone Bolelli in the next round.

NIGHT OFF

Nieminen will be up against the odds when he plays Federer, who took the night off to head across the road to watch the Champions League match between FC Basel and Barcelona.

The pair met a year ago in the Basel final, with the Swiss again speeding through to a victory, his ninth against the Finn.

“He makes me play badly, I don’t know why,” said Nieminen, ranked 29 in the world. “He has an 18-0 score on sets against me. So I’ve really got only one goal — to at least win a set.”

US fourth seed James Blake, chasing a place in the Masters Cup in Shanghai, kept his hopes alive as he beat German Nicolas Kiefer 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, ending the evening with an ace.

Germany’s Benjamin Becker, a qualifier, beat countryman Andreas Beck 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 for a place in the quarter-finals.

Belgium’s Kristof Vliegen put out Vienna winner Philipp Petzschner 6-2, 6-3 while Russian Igor Andreev, the world No. 6 downed German No. 1 Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6 (8/6), 6-7 (0/7), 7-5.

Andreev, twice a clay finalist at Gstaad in the Alps, went through with 17 aces to win his 42nd match of the season.

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