Baghdatis wants to be seeded again in Grand Slams

Baghdatis wants to be seeded again in Grand Slams

Dubai - On the court though, Baghdatis certainly was at peace with himself, never giving a younger and a higher ranked opponent -- Vasek Pospisil -- a hint of a chance under a pretty strong Dubai sun.



By Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Wed 24 Feb 2016, 5:59 PM

Last updated: Wed 24 Feb 2016, 8:02 PM

Marcos Baghdatis, the flamboyant Cypriot who became the first man from his country to reach a Grand Slam final, has rolled back the years with two impressive wins at the Dubai Tennis Championships.
His game may have lost some of its spark, but his popularity certainly has not begun to wane. After his second round win on Wednesday afternoon, police had to control fans to let him walk back to the player's lounge in peace.
On the court though, Baghdatis certainly was at peace with himself, never giving a younger and a higher ranked opponent -- Vasek Pospisil -- a hint of a chance under a pretty strong Dubai sun.
When we met him for an interview after the match, the 30-year-old player joked that he was not young anymore, but his performance in the highly impressive 6-4 6-2 win on Wednesday over Pospisil suggested that he still has many years ahead of him.
Baghdatis was brilliant on Monday night as well when he knocked out fifth seed Viktor Troicki in straight sets.
"Yes, yes it's like playing in two completely different tournaments," he said when we asked him about playing two matches in completely different conditions in the same tournament.
"My first match was at 9pm on Monday, then I played at 2pm today. The conditions were obviously very different. So I am happy I won today," the Limassol-based player said.
And winning in straight sets obviously makes it easier for him in a tough tournament like the Dubai Tennis Championships.
"Yes, it's good, you know to get straight sets win when you get deep into tournaments, especially because I am 30 now. It's always nice not to waste lots of energy on the court."
Baghdatis' opponent -- Roberto Bautista Agut -- in the quarterfinals is a Spaniard who is in red-hot form.
"Yes, he has won two tournaments already this year. He played well in the Australian Open. He is playing a lot of matches in recent times and winning them, so I think he is in great form and it's going to be a very tough match," Baghdatis said.
"I think he has the upper hand. Like I said, he is in better shape. He has played more matches, but I think I am playing well too. I am feeling good here in Dubai. I always play well here; I played semis here before.
"So I am hoping to get a better run than the last time I played here."
The 2006 Australian Open runner-up has a pretty good idea about Bautista Agut's game even though he has never played him before.
"Yes, we haven't faced before. I saw him play a bit. He is not a typical Spanish player. Yes, he is a baseline player but he plays more flat. And he serves pretty well, so it's going to be interesting."
Baghdatis, who ranking fell to 85 at the start of 2015 due to inconsistent form and injuries, has now set himself an interesting target.
"I am aiming to finish in the top 30 by the end of this year. Last year my goal was to finish in the top 50 and I achieved that and I am very happy with that. 
"You know me and my wife (former Czech player Karolina Sprem who reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2004) just had a newborn baby, so that makes it a very complicated year.
"So I would be very happy to finish in the top 30, and be seeded in the Grand Slams next year."
A national icon in Cyprus, Baghdatis says his life has changed after becoming a father.
"You cannot understand (the feeling) until you have your own kid, you know. I think you see life a bit differently, your priorities change. Everything around you changes when you become a parent."
rituraj@khaleejtimes.com


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