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Marcos Baghdatis advances in Marseille February 14, 2008

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Marcos Baghdatis served 10 aces en route to a straight sets victory over the Frenchman Arnaud Clement 6-3, 6-4 in the opening round of the Open 13 tournament on Tuesday evening in Marseille.

The sixth seeded Cypriot broke the serve of the 2006 winner in each set to claim a well deserved victory in one hour and 19 minutes. Baghdatis will now face the winner of the match between the Ivo Karlovic of Croatia and the Spaniard Feliciano Lopez in the second round which is scheduled for this afternoon.

Baghdatis never played against Karlovic at an ATP or Grand Slam main draw event, while he beat Feliciano Lopez in their sole meeting in the second round of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2006 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.

On the same day (Tuesday), the popular Cypriot was handed the third and final wildcard for next week’s ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam. Baghdatis was one of the players who made a late withdrawal from last year’s edition, which was plagued by pullouts, so this decision could prove controversial.

“I felt uncomfortable about not being able to play last year, so I’m delighted to have the opportunity to participate,” read a statement form Baghdatis.

However, the tournament director, Richard Krajicek, said that he took the decision after discussions with Baghdatis’ management.

Baghdatis coach quits after a year February 7, 2008

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The coach of Cypriot tennis star Marcos Baghdatis quit yesterday after less than a year on the job.

Yiannos Hadjigeorgiou, who will continue to coach the 17th-ranked Baghdatis as Cyprus’s Davis Cup captain, told the 2006 Australian Open finalist that he was stepping down due to personal reasons.

“This decision, taken after much thought, is clearly owed to family reasons. The decision I have taken is the most appropriate,” Hadjigeorgiou said on the Cypriot tennis federation’s website. “I impressed upon [Baghdatis] that I would always be by his side, as in the past, for whatever he may need.”

Hadjigeorgiou started coaching Baghdatis in May 2007. No replacement has yet been named.

Baghdatis beats Davydenko in Paris Masters November 7, 2007

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Cypriot tennis player Marcos Baghdatis, 22th in world men’s tennis ranking, beat today Russian Nikolay Davydenko.

The Russian player, 4th in world ranking, is a former winner of the Paris Masters men’s singles. Baghdatis beat Davydenko by 6-2, 6-2 sets.

Marcos passed into second round of Madrid Masters October 18, 2007

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Cypriot tennis player Marcos Baghdatis passed into the second round of the Madrid Masters Tournament on Monday, by beating Romanian Andrei Pavel, ranking 82nd, 2-1 set.

Baghdatis won the first set with 6-3, lost the second by 4-6 and won the third with 6-1.

In the second round, Baghdatis will be playing against Spaniard Rafael Nadal, 2nd in the world, who qualified without playing.

Greece’s Eleni Daniilidou in China Open September 20, 2007

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Unseeded Lindsay Davenport defeated Greece’s Eleni Daniilidou 7-5 6-3 in the second round of the China Open on Thursday.

Rising tennis star set to defect to Cyprus September 18, 2007

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Following our September 6, 2007 post > Andrew Thomas > the next new tennis star for Cyprus

A promising teenage tennis star has been caught in the crosshairs of two countries, with both Cyprus and Australia battling it out for his signature.

Seventeen-year-old Andrew Thomas is listed on the International Tennis Federation website as an Australian, but he played the junior boys’ singles tournament at the US Open in New York two weeks ago as a Cypriot, where he advanced to the final 16.
Thomas, who was born and raised in Sydney, is a former world under-14 champion and was to be offered a full-time scholarship worth $125,000 by the Australian Institute of Sport for coaching, accommodation and travel costs. His mother, Coral, was born in Cyprus and his father Tom’s grandparents are also from Cyprus.

Thomas has previously been a hitting partner for Cyprus’ greatest tennis export, 2006 Australian Open runner-up Marcos Baghdatis. The President of the Cyprus Tennis Federation, Philios Christodoulou said that Thomas, “first expressed his wish to represent Cyprus during Wimbledon this year and he met up with Baghdatis and his coach,” he said. “They then came to me saying that Andrew is a very talented young player.” According to Christodoulou, “Andrew was very keen to sign a contract straight away but we needed the approval of Tennis Australia, who were not keen on letting him go.”

According to The Australian newspaper, “while TA wishes Thomas well, behind the scenes there are serious doubts he has made the best choice.” Chief Executive Steve Wood said in a statement: “While we respect his decision, Tennis Australia is extremely disappointed Andrew Thomas chose to play for Cyprus in New York.”

Wood said Baghdatis and the Cyprus Tennis Federation had provided funding for Thomas’ US Open campaign since TA had turned down his request for a cash hand-out. “Cash hand-outs do not support the philosophy of our program, which is about resourcing environments and funding opportunities,” Wood said. “In Andrew’s instance those opportunities have included and, form permitting, would have continued to include, international tours and playing with representative teams.”

Christodoulou said that Thomas spent two weeks on the island in July with Baghdatis and also arranged to get a Cypriot passport. “His Australian sponsors have threatened to withdraw their support and pressure has also been put on his parents, by the Australians,” said Christodoulou, who added that the Cyprus Tennis Federation, “is willing to take over his expenses in order for him to participate in future tournaments.”

Despite Thomas, who is ranked 27 in the world under-18 category, representing Cyprus in New York, his future is still in limbo, and he has since returned to Sydney. “He doesn’t know what to do now and we don’t know whether we are going to lose him,” said Christodoulou. “It is the wish of the Cyprus Tennis Federation and the government for Andrew to represent Cyprus.”

Should he wish to continue representing Cyprus, Thomas will have to serve a period of residency in Cyprus before he is qualified to play Davis Cup or represent Cyprus at the Olympic Games. On his part, Thomas told Sydney radio station 2GB that playing Davis Cup for Cyprus was his aim.

“I’m seeing Marcos now in World Group two and looking to do even better in the next couple years,” he said. “I like the environment in Cyprus, as it’s a small community with nice people. I love it there, so I will probably head back there.” He added that Tennis Australia, “have not been supporting me as much in the last couple years, so I decided to play for Cyprus.”

Baghdatis China Open reign ended September 15, 2007

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Ivan Llubicic ended Marcos Baghdatis reign as China Open champion yesterday, the Croatian knocking the Cypriot out in the quarterfinals 6-4 4-6 7-6 (5).

It was fourth seed Ljubicic’s first win in four matches against Baghdatis who will now face Spaniard Fernando Gonzalez in the semifinals. Baghdatis was hugely disappointed to give up his title after saving two match points in the decisive tiebreak against Ljubicic. “I had many opportunities but I didn’t grasp them,” he said. “He played well in the tiebreak and he was more aggressive.”

Baghdatis has broken Ljubicic’s serve to start the match but the experienced Croat broke the fifth seeded Cypriot twice in a row to take a 4-1 lead. Baghdatis broke back in the ninth game to reduce the score to 4-5 but again failed to hold serve.

The second set started in similar fashion as the 22-year-old Cypriot broke Ljubicic’s serve in the first and third game and built up a 3-0 lead. However, Ljubicic managed to break Baghdatis in the fourth game and then hold server to get back in the match at 2-3. But Baghdatis held his serve to see out the set and level the tie.

Both men found greater consistency in their serve in the final set to force a tie-breaker. Unforced errors by the reigning champion handed the initiative to Ljubicic and eventually gave the Croatian his first tour win over Baghdatis.