Fish fried as Baghdatis advances
Saturday 24 January 2009
By Tom Kelly
Marcos Baghdatis is through to a fourth-round meeting with Novak Djokovic after accounting for American Mardy Fish in straight sets in the early hours of Saturday.
The 6-2 6-4 6-4 scoreline didn’t reflect a tight match, however; No. 23 seed Fish took it up to Baghdatis and could perhaps rue only a disappointing error count.
The first point of the match mirrored what was to transpire.
Fish looked to have Baghdatis covered at the net when, with a flick of the wrist at full tilt, the Cypriot sent a brilliant passing shot flying past.
From thereon in, Baghdatis entertained the rowdy Hisense Arena crowd with play reminiscent of his dream run to the 2006 final.
The first game proved to be a marathon, with Baghdatis converting his third break point after 14 minutes.
Fish pressed the Baghdatis serve at 4-2 down, but his failure to impact on the scoreboard proved costly.
Baghdatis closed out the set at his first opportunity as the American pushed a forehand wide.
Sensing the Cypriot’s confidence rising, the crowd roared their approval during the change of ends.
Fish’s serve was again put under pressure from the outset of the second.
Baghdatis converted on his fourth break point opportunity, edging out to a 4-1 advantage.
He held serve, closing out the set 6-4 in 47 minutes to take a decisive lead in the match.
Despite a straightforward scoreline, the third set still posed challenges for the former Australian Open finalist.
His first chance to break didn’t come until the seventh game when Fish netted a backhand.
Baghdatis raced through the rest of the set, one final Fish error sealing the match at 1.15am local time.
Fish served 10 aces to Baghdatis’ five, and both players landed their first serve at 54 per cent
Fish made 45 unforced errors, while Baghdatis racked up 29
The American approached the net 38 times, winning 18 of those points; Baghdatis was 7-for-9 on net approaches (78 per cent)
Fish had the fastest first serve of the match at 219km/h