Marcos Baghdatis,Thanasi Kokkinakis, Ivo Karlovic, Steve Johnson, and Defending Champion Rajeev Ram to compete in Hall of Fame Tennis Championships
(February 27, 2016) DUBAI, UAE – Second seed Stan Wawrinka defeated unseeded Marcos Baghdatis to win his first Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships for the Swiss’ 13th tennis title, second of the year. Third time was the charm for the two-time major champion as it was Wawrinka’s third appearance in the tournament, having lost in the first round of the previous two he played.
Wawrinka, who has a perfect record against the Cypriot (6-0), was the 2013 ‘s-Hertogenbosch final to Nicolas Mahut. He is now 13-9 in finals. It was his second
Wawrinka is the just the fifth active player to have won nine of more finals in a row, joining the company fellow Swiss Roger Federer (24, also 13 and 10), Rafael Nadal (14, also 9 twice), Novak Djokovic (9) and Tommy Haas (9).
The world No. 4 was just two points away from elimination in his opening match against Sergiy Stakhovsky.
“I’m really happy to have another trophy,” said Wawrinka. “It’s amazing feeling, especially that today I was playing some really good tennis. It was a tough final against Marcos. I’m really happy again to have the trophy. It was tough beginning (of the week), but always trying to fight, always trying to improve day by day even if I wasn’t playing great at the beginning.
“So far it’s been some amazing year. I’m playing my best tennis since few years now, so hopefully I can keep the level and keep playing well this year.”
Asked about his streak in finals, Wawrinka replied: “There is no explanation. I also know that more I win matches in the same week, more confidence I get. I know that’s normally when I get some finals I play my best tennis. So far it’s been some great nine finals.
“But I don’t think about it. I just try to go on court, to step on the court, try to get the trophy because at the end that’s what I want.”
“As long as I’m fit, playing well, I’m going to play,” said the 30-year-old. “So far it’s been some amazing year. I’m playing my best tennis since few years now, so hopefully I can keep the level and keep playing well this year.”
Baghdatis, a former Australian Open finalist is making his move back up the rankings after a few years battling injuries.
“I have been playing very well throughout last year, too,” he said. “I think I had some great matches also last year.
“I mean, like I said last year, I lost 11 times to the winner of the tournament, 3 times to the finalist of the tournament. This year I lost four matches. Three of them are to the winner of the tournaments. So I think I’m playing very good tennis. It’s just this week I think I was a bit lucky and I went through the quarterfinals and the semifinals, you know. I found my way to win. I think, like I said, more matches at this stage, at this level I think will make me improve. That’s what’s happening.
“You know, I didn’t win the tournament this week but I won a lot more, you know. I won my confidence back.
“I see — I mean, with my team we see the way to come back, you know. It’s a small light that we see, I mean, in the tunnel.
“We come from a long way back. You know, I’m happy I’m back and playing this kind of tennis now. It’s just to continue improving, and, like I said, play at this level throughout the year.”
Baghdatis has now lost in 7 straight finals.
“I think just playing this level more often. I think that was the difference,” he said. “I think more matches throughout the year at this level would make me go in there and believe from the beginning that I can win, not wait three, four games and start believing. You know, I didn’t win the tournament this week but I won a lot more. I won my confidence back. I’m happy I’m back and playing this kind of tennis now.”
“I think the atmosphere out there, no doubt one of the best I ever had,” said the Cypriot. “You know, I mean, every time I come here in Dubai there is a great atmosphere. Every time I play here in centre court there is a great atmosphere. So it wasn’t a surprise for me. I love playing here. I want to thank all the people that came out here today and performed that atmosphere.”
The highlight of the match came in the second set tiebreak. Wawrinka had a 4-1 lead and Baghdatis came back to level the tiebreak and had four set points, but Wawrinka’s defense stopped his opponent and he held on to win the tiebreak 15-13. Game, set and match 6-4, 7-6(13).
Baghdatis will see his ranking go up from 57 into the top forty.
RESULTS – SATURDAY, 27 FEBRUARY 2016
Singles – Final
 S. Wawrinka (SUI) d M. Baghdatis (CYP) 64 76(13)
Doubles – Final
S. Bolelli (ITA) / A. Seppi (ITA) d F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) 62 36 14-12 – Saved 2 M.P.
All photos by Nida Alibhai
(February 26, 2016) DUBAI, UAE – Second seed Stan Wawrinka and unseeded Marcos Baghdatis will face off in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Wawrinka advanced to the final leading 6-4, 3-0 when Nick Kyrgios was forced to retire with a back injury. Baghdatis rallied to defeat to defeat sixth seed Feliciano Lopez 3-6, 7-6 (1), 6-1.
Despite the victory, Wawrinka is still not happy with his play.
“Not yet, but I’m in finals so there is one more match to play my best tennis. That’s the most important,” Wawrinka said. “For sure if you look from the beginning of the week I was not playing great at all. I was trying to find a way, frustrated during matches but still fighting and trying to find solutions to win more matches during the week to play better.
“I start to feel way better already yesterday. I feel that on the court I start to feel better. I know what to expect. I’m moving better. I’m a little bit more relaxed and my strokes are going better.”
“The tension was there because it’s a semifinal and I don’t want to lose. I want to win. I want to play better tennis. I want to be in the final and have a chance to get the trophy.
“That’s why I get the tension. But the rest, to play him I don’t think wasn’t, from my side, anything special.”
“I had a bit of a hip injury at the start of Marseilles,” Kygrios said. “That was still sort of bothering me a little bit. I was sort of struggling with a couple of niggles,” Kyrgios said. “It was a bit of a struggle, to be honest. I have been feeling so bad every day, like I’ve got some viral infection as well.”
“I couldn’t really serve anywhere near my full capacity today. I mean, he was playing great, anyway. He was playing really aggressive off the second shot of his serve.”
“It’s been a long road for me the last three, four years,” said the former Australian Open finalist Baghdatis. “It’s all about fighting, getting back to where I want to be. Last year we set some goals to be top 50 with my team. I achieved that. Now I’m moving forward. I think I have still a lot to improve on, but the most important thing is healthy-wise I’m very, very good. I don’t have any injuries and health problems that I had.”
“I mean, he was the better player today I think the first two sets,” said the Cypriot. “He couldn’t hold his nerves. End of the second he was a break up at 4-3, and serving with new balls he couldn’t hold his nerves.
“The crowd helped me amazingly there, and, yeah, I found a way to fight in the second and win it. I think I played an unbelievable tiebreak, very solid, returned very well, served very well.
“Then started to get momentum in the third. And once I did the break and then hold after the 2-1, Love-40 on my serve, then everything went pretty smooth.”
Wawrinka on playing Baghdatis: “Marcos since the beginning of the year is playing better. He’s saying he’s happy with his fitness, with his game. You can see the way he’s playing. Yesterday he was playing really well against Bautista. It’s going to be interesting match.”
“He’s unbelievable player,” Baghdatis said about Wawrinka. “I think he has a better percentage of winning tomorrow, that’s for sure.
“I mean, the last two years he’s very consistent. He’s having his best years of his life. Winning two Grand Slams, that’s amazing. I think he’s a guy who deserves it.
“But I cannot tell you much more. You know, I’m going to sit down with my coach tomorrow morning or maybe tonight and talk about it a bit.”
All photos by Nida Alibhai
Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships
RESULTS – FRIDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 2016
Singles – Semi-finals
 S. Wawrinka (SUI) d N. Kyrgios (AUS) 64 30 ret. (back problem)
M. Baghdatis (CYP) d  F. Lopez (ESP) 36 76(1) 61
Doubles – Semi-finals
F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) d [Q] H. Chung (KOR) / J. Vesely (CZE) 64 76(6)
S. Bolelli (ITA) / A. Seppi (ITA) d L. Kubot (POL) / M. Matkowski (POL) 64 64
SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 27 FEBRUARY 2016
CENTRE COURT start 5:00 pm
F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) vs S. Bolelli (ITA) / A. Seppi (ITA)
Not Before 7:00 pm
M. Baghdatis (CYP) vs  S. Wawrinka (SUI)
(August 2, 2015) John Isner defeated Marcos Baghdatis 6-3, 6-3 capture his third straight Atlanta Open title on Sunday in 59 minutes. Isner became the eighth active player on the ATP World Tour three-peat a tournament joining active players Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori and Lleyton Hewitt.
“It was a short match against an opponent who wasn’t feeling well, but this week was exactly what I needed, to get matches under my belt,” said the 30-year-old former University of Georgia standout. “It should bode well for me going forward.”
Baghdatis was dealing with an injury which recurred a month ago and he apologized for his performance.
“I didn’t play my best tennis this week but I’m pretty happy with my mental side, I found ways to win,” said the Cypriot. “I played five matches this week…the good thing is that it’s nothing serious.”
“It’s always tough to have a match in (17) hours, especially when your opponent has (22). We are humans, you know, and you want to be able to play a final with the crowd loving it.”
Isner will move up in the rankings to No. 18, while Baghdatis will move to No. 44.
Isner takes the lead in the first week of the US Open Series Bonus Challenge, with the title victory. This year, the Series champions will compete for the chance to win a $4.3 million record paycheck at the US Open — $3.3 million for winning the US Open plus an additional $1 million bonus for also capturing the Emirates Airline US Open Series title. Isner has finished second in the Series’ Bonus Challenge standings each of the last three years. New in 2014 and continuing this year, any player who earns points in three or more Series events will automatically have their bonus points doubled.
Americans Bob and Mike Bryan defeated Colin Fleming of Great Britain and Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 4-6, 7-6(2), 10-4 to win the doubles title. It’s their 107th career crown and fourth of the year.
“Bob and I have really enjoyed playing this fantastic event and couldn’t be more thrilled to come away with the trophy,” said Mike Bryan. “Today’s match was a hard fought battle against a really tough team and it came down to the wire. Luckily we were able to play some great tennis toward the end to swing the match in our favor. The Atlanta fans have been awesome all week and helped push us over the line.”
(June 23, 2015) Marcos Baghdatis knocked out top seed David Ferrer at the Aegon Open Nottingham on Tuesday.
Baghdatis said after beating 2013 French Open finalist Ferrer: “The best thing is that I’m feeling good on court. It was his first match on grass and at the beginning he didn’t have much rhythm. I think I played it smart not to give him any rhythm. I’m very happy about my win today but I have to keep my feet on the ground. There’s still a long way to go. But I feel good here, there are a lot of good vibrations, good vibes, positive energy.”
Ferrer admits that he was second-best on his return to the grass surface. He said: “Marcos was better than me. He played more hours on court and had more confidence in his game. For me, the first set was difficult because it was the first set back on grass. I didn’t have too many days of practice on this surface. I hope next year I’ll have more days here. It’s important to play more matches. Now I have to focus before Wimbledon. I will have four or five days of practice and I hope to play better.”
Third seed and two-time winner of the Aegon International at Eastbourne Feliciano Lopez also reached the third round beating junior World No. 1 Taylor Harry Fritz 6-3 6-3. He will be joined by second seed Gilles Simon who came through a three hour epic to defeat Spaniard Marcel Granollers, 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-7(0).
Meanwhile, world No. 16 Lopez knows that he faces a tough task to get past Lu and reach the last eight.Lopez said: “He’s a great player who can do very well on grass. He’s dangerous. I’ll try to play my game, be aggressive and hold serve. This is the way I have to play.”“Grass court season is good for me. It has been good for the last 10 years. It’s the surface where I play my best tennis, so I take advantage of that. My game is good for the grass, so hopefully I can have a great run here and also at Wimbledon next week.”
Fritz had already beaten World No. 66 Pablo Carreno Busta earlier in the day in what was his ATP World Tour main draw debut. “He was not shy at all,” Lopez said. “The fact that he won his first match this morning gave him a lot of confidence and he went in with nothing to lose – he’s 700th in the world, I’m 16th – so it’s a great match for him to play. I think he has a great future.”
First on Centre Court was British No. 4 Ward, who resumed his rain-interrupted first round match up by one set against American Tim Smyczek but lost 1-6, 7-6(3), 6-1, before sixteenth-seed Czech Jiri Vesely defeated Smyczek 6-1, 6-3 in less than an hour in the second round.
On the outside courts, 18-year-old former junior world No. 1 Alexander Zverev came from a set down to beat Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci 6-7(7), 6-3, 6-4 and set up a third round meeting with Baghdatis. Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov, who toppled Rafael Nadal at The Queen’s Club last week, overcame 11th seed Spaniard Pablo Andujar in 2 hours 20 minutes 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 6-4, while world No. 23 Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas got past Dudi Sela of Israel in straight sets, 7-5, 6-4. Cuevas will next face big-serving American Sam Querrey, who took down Santiago Giraldo of Colombia 7-6(4), 6-4.
Results for June 23, 2015
Singles – Second Round
M. Baghdatis (CYP) d  D. Ferrer (ESP) 62 76(4)
 G. Simon (FRA) d M. Granollers (ESP) 46 76(3) 76(0) – saved 3 M.P.
 F. Lopez (ESP) d [WC] T. Fritz (USA) 63 63
 L. Mayer (ARG) d H. Chung (KOR) 63 61
 P. Cuevas (URU) d [Q] D. Sela (ISR) 75 64
S. Stakhovsky (UKR) d  V. Troicki (SRB) 64 62
 D. Thiem (AUT) d M. Jaziri (TUN) 63 61
 A. Mannarino (FRA) d A. Bedene (GBR) 76(4) 64
D. Istomin (UZB) d  J. Monaco (ARG) 61 62
S. Bolelli (ITA) d  M. Klizan (SVK) 63 67(4) 61
A. Dolgopolov (UKR) d  P. Andujar (ESP) 76(5) 67(5) 64
 S. Querrey (USA) d S. Giraldo (COL) 76(4) 64
[WC] A. Zverev (GER) d  T. Bellucci (BRA) 67(7) 63 64
 J. Sousa (POR) d S. Groth (AUS) 67(5) 63 76(3)
Y. Lu (TPE) d  A. Seppi (ITA) 64 63
 J. Vesely (CZE) d T. Smyczek (USA) 61 63
Singles – First Round
T. Smyczek (USA) d [WC] J. Ward (GBR) 16 76(3) 61
Y. Lu (TPE) d [Q] R. Bemelmans (BEL) 64 64
[WC] T. Fritz (USA) d P. Carreno Busta (ESP) 61 64
S. Groth (AUS) d [Q] M. Zverev (GER) 76(1) 76(3)
Doubles – First Round
 P. Cuevas (URU) / D. Marrero (ESP) d P. Andujar (ESP) / O. Marach (AUT) 63 64
[Alt] L. Kubot (POL) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) d  D. Inglot (GBR) / J. Murray (GBR) 64 62
C. Guccione (AUS) / A. Sa (BRA) d J. Monaco (ARG) / D. Schwartzman (ARG) 64 76(3)
[WC] E. Butorac (USA) / C. Fleming (GBR) d M. Fyrstenberg (POL) / S. Gonzalez (MEX) 63 62
[WC] K. Skupski (GBR) / N. Skupski (GBR) d G. Duran (ARG) / L. Mayer (ARG) 61 64
R. Lindstedt (SWE) / A. Sitak (NZL) d R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) 36 76(5) 10-8
SCHEDULE – WEDNESDAY, 24 JUNE 2015
CENTRE COURT start 12:00 noon
M. Baghdatis (CYP) vs [WC] A. Zverev (GER)
 P. Cuevas (URU) vs  S. Querrey (USA)
 J. Sousa (POR) vs  G. Simon (FRA)
Y. Lu (TPE) vs  F. Lopez (ESP)
COURT 1 start 11:00 am
S. Bolelli (ITA) vs  A. Mannarino (FRA)
 L. Mayer (ARG) vs  J. Vesely (CZE)
 M. Granollers (ESP) / L. Paes (IND) vs T. Huey (PHI) / S. Lipsky (USA)
S. Bolelli (ITA) / A. Qureshi (PAK) vs [WC] E. Butorac (USA) / C. Fleming (GBR)
After Suitable Rest – R. Lindstedt (SWE) / A. Sitak (NZL) vs  P. Cuevas (URU) / D. Marrero (ESP)
COURT 2 start 12:00 noon
D. Istomin (UZB) vs S. Stakhovsky (UKR)
[WC] K. Skupski (GBR) / N. Skupski (GBR) vs [Alt] L. Kubot (POL) / M. Mirnyi (BLR)
 D. Thiem (AUT) vs A. Dolgopolov (UKR)
Welcome to Miami
Breaking News at WTA All Access
Due to Craig Hickman’s and JD Blom’s skills with the Flemish language they broke the “Clijsters won’t play in Asia” story on twitter first and with a complete translation later in the day.Â Heads up to Chris Chase for recognizing this in Yahoo’s tennis blog Busted Racquet. It was interesting to see media outlets report the story without verification or source attribution.
Has anyone noticed that most of those players who participated in the charity soccer match for Japan earlier in the week have already lost in Miami?Â The list so far includes Andy Murray, Fernando Verdasco, Marcos Baghdatis, Stanislas Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori.
Look out for Falling Seeds
On Saturday alone 10 seeds including Andy Roddick lost in Miami – 6 menÂ and 4 women.
From Serena Williams‘ twitter account, Williams and Caroline Wozniacki took in a Miami Heat game earlier in the week.
Andy Murray is officially in a slump. He was a second round victim to Alex Bogomolov Jr. This marks his fourth consecutive loss beginning with the final of the Australian Open. Despite the loss, Murray will climb to No. 4 in the world due to Robin Soderling’s third round exit at the Sony Ericsson Open.
Doubles Point of the Week!
Swimming with the Fish(es)
Mardy Fish has a sense of humor to volunteer to participate in two photo-ops this week – swimming with the dolphins..
and posing with theÂ Miami Dolphins cheerleaders. Good news for Fish – not official yet but a Fish win in the next round, paired with Andy Roddick’s early loss will make Fish the top ranked US male.
Dance of the Week
Ana Ivanovic has paired up with Andrea Petkovic in doubles this week at the Sony Ericsson Open.Â Needless to say Petkovic has shown her how to do the victory dance.
Photo-Op of the Week
NBA All-Stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat perfomed the coin toss at Saturday eveningâ€™s Rafael Nadal-Kei Nishikori match at the Sony Ericsson Open.
Do you wanna ride in my Mercedes boy?
Kudos to Onthegotennis.com who caught Roger Federer driving to the Sony Ericsson Open in a Mercedes.Â Mercedes is one of Federer’s sponsors.
Parties and Events of the Week
Game, Set, Match, Videos and Photo Galleries!
JD Blom and Craig Hickman were all over the Sony Ericsson OpenÂ from the matches to the “Party Patrol” events this past week. Here are links to videos and photo galleries. Also check out the live tweeting of the red carpet events they covered thorughout the weekâ€“ here
Articles with Videos: