Baghdatis defeats Devvarman in a three-set “dog fight”
With a Thursday schedule that could rival any grand slam tournament’s, the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington, D.C. began with an early session due to a washout Wednesday evening. The matches that were supposed to take place last night, instead took place today starting at noon, making it necessary for some players to play their second and third round matches within hours of each other. It’s a difficult task winning one grueling three-set match, not to mention having the energy and stamina to win two matches in a single day.
In the day session, Marcos Baghdatis defeated Somdev Devvarman, 6-2, 0-6, 7-5, after squandering several match points at 5-4 and 5-5. Baghdatis’ movement on court was lacking and his serving percentage plummeted as the match went on. After serving 83% in the first set, he served 36% and 38% in the second and third set, respectively. The hiccup set in the middle saw him winning only 1-of-8 first return points and going 0-for-3 in break points saved.
Baghdatis had this to say in his post-match interview: “Tough match for sure. [Devvarman] is a tricky player to play against and conditions were tough in the end and it was pretty hot out there. I wasn’t feel that great for a first match for me. The most important thing is that I found the solution to win and I’m pretty happy to win.”
But all credit to Devvarman who outplayed his opponent in the second set with a game outside of his own, approaching at key moments and forcing the pressure on Baghdatis by hugging the baseline and hitting some exceptional forehands. Baghdatis tried to pull Devvarman out to his backhand for most of the match, but Devvarman became more comfortable and responded with extra speed on his forehand when he had the chance. With only four total points distinguishing the winner from his opponent, it was a test of will power and perseverance.
Devvarmen is a University of Virginia stand-out alumnus and the stands reflected the home crowd feel. In a sea of orange, Devvarman was supremely confident and not lacking in mental strength. In his post-match interview, he hinted that they both played well, but that Baghdatis simply was too good in “the dog fight. It was really close at the end and could have gone either way.”
Baghdatis, a finalist here last year and currently ranked #26, is looking for his first title since Sydney in 2010. But he is optimistic with a new coach in tow, Miles Maclagan, the former coach of Scot Andy Murray. The two have been working together since last month. Other than reaching the quarterfinals in Brisbane and s-Hertogenbosch, Baghdatis’ results have been dismal, but he will get a chance this evening to take on Thomaz Bellucci as they battle for a spot in the quarterfinals.
After match point, discarding his typical “kiss of the court” on his hands and knees, he bent over and instead wrote something meaningful on the DecoTurf court.
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