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Baghdatis through to last 16 at Wimbledon July 3, 2007

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Cyprus’ Marcos Baghdatis, a semifinalist at Wimbledon last year, advanced to the Grand Slam tournament’s fourth round with a sturdy straight-sets victory yesterday against Argentine David Nalbandian, a former finalist.

Baghdatis, who is the world’s No 16 and 10th seed at Wimbledon, stormed to his win over Nalbandian, ranked 25 in the world, with an impressive 6-2, 7-5, 6-0 score. The Cypriot will face either Nikolay Davydenko or France’s Gael Montfils for a place in the quarterfinals. Much of yesterday’s schedule of play was affected by persistent rainfall.

Defending champion Roger Federer was handed a bye into the quarterfinals when German No 1 Tommy Haas pulled out with a torn stomach muscle.

Marcos Baghdatis beats Nalbandian at Wimbledon July 2, 2007

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Marcos moves to 4th round at Wimbledon

Cyprus tennis star Marcos Baghdatis, ranked 16th in the world beat Argentina’s  David Nalbandian in the third round of the Wimbledon tournament qualifying game on Monday.

Winning in three straight sets of 6-2, 7-5, 6-0, Baghdatis will now qualify to the fourth round of the tournament and improve his world rankings. He’ll face the Russian 6th-seeded Nikolay Davydenko or Frenchman Gael Monfils in the fourth round.

In the second round, the 10th-seeded Cypriot player beat French Nicolas Devilder with 3-1 sets and advanced to the third round.

This is the fourth time that Baghdatis and Nalbandian have clashed in international tournaments, the last time being at the Australian Open in Melbourne in 2006 where the Cypriot player won 3-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to get to the final with world champion Roger Federer.

Marcos Baghdatis is branding Cyprus July 1, 2007

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At the end of Marcos Baghdatis’ game at the Gerry Weber Open final in Germany earlier this month, the organisers brought out a cake to celebrate the Cypriot tennis star’s 22nd birthday.

A polite and genuine gesture for a colourful sportsman whose temperament and talent by admission of the International Tennis Federation have animated an otherwise dull, read bar Nadal, circuit.

The cake was marked with the Cyprus flag. In the world of fast information and images and faster impressions, the Baghdatis-Cyprus connection at that moment generated more positive recognition for Cyprus than compared to the Cyprus Tourism Organisation campaign featuring images of beaches and mountain tops.

Marcos Baghdatis. The Cyprus’ National tennis star. Born in 1985, talented, charming, laid-back but also temperamental; tri-lingual and very European. If he wins any grand slam down the line he’ll be elevated to Cyprus’ global ambassador. He will personify the way the world identifies and appreciates Cyprus.

Of course, like him, Cyprus counts hundreds of agile, hard working and focused professionals both here and abroad who are capable of carrying the Cyprus brand. At the end of the day, we know we will never host a World Cup or the Olympic Games. So all we can do is to encourage more like Baghdatis to excel in what they do and hope that the state will prove clever enough to help and embrace them. It appears our only asset with branding potential is the human one. Happy Birthday Marcos!

Baghdatis fights hard for his victory June 30, 2007

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Marcos Baghdatis defeated Frenchman Nicolas Devilder in four sets, 6-0, 7-6, 6-7, 6-2, to reach the third round.

Cyprus’ Marcos Baghdatis fought harder than had been expected to get past Frenchman Nicolas Devilder, ranked 86 places below him, in a second-round men’s singles game at Wimbledon on Thursday.

Baghdatis, a semifinalist at Wimbledon last year, advanced to the third round with a 3-1 win, 6-0, 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (4-7), 6-2. The 22-year-old Cypriot needed almost three hours to down Devilder.

Baghdatis, the world’s No 16 and 10th seed at the Grand Slam tournament, swamped Devilder in the opening set for a 6-0 win. But the 27-year-old Frenchman returned a more focused player for the encounter’s second set. Devilder took it to a tiebreaker before losing 7-5. He managed to take the third set to a tiebreaker, this time winning it with a 7-4 score. But the 22-year-old Cypriot then averted any possibility of a complete comeback by the Frenchman. Baghdatis overpowered Devilder in the fourth set for a 6-2 win and a place in the third round.

In the women’s singles competition, Greece’s Eleni Daniilidou, ranked 47 in the world, lost her second-round match in three sets against Czech opponent Lucie Safarova. Daniilidou, who had made it as far as Wimbledon’s fourth round in 2002, lost 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to Safarova, the world’s No 25.

Daniilidou’s unforced errors, 16 in total, were less than half those committed by her Czech opponent. But Safarova served far more powerfully to dominate the match. The Czech registered nine aces compared to one by Daniilidou.

Baghdatis overcomes slow start at Wimbledon June 28, 2007

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Cyprus’s Marcos Baghdatis, a semifinalist at Wimbledon last year, has reached the Grand Slam tournament’s second round following a 3-1 win yesterday over unseeded 18-year-old Latvian Ernests Gulbis.

Baghdatis, the tournament’s 10th seed, dropped the opening set 6-3 against the Latvian, who was making his debut Wimbledon appearance. But the Cypriot soon found his way against the inexperienced Gulbis, playing only his second Grand Slam tournament.

Baghdatis, who lost the opening set after 27 minutes of play, responded by taking the matches’s next three sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 and finishing off his rival in just under two hours.

Gulbis, who managed to move Baghdatis around with ease in the opening set, eventually made 37 unforced errors, compared to the Cypriot’s 14.

Greece’s Eleni Daniilidou past first round at Wimbledon June 27, 2007

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Leading Greek tennis player Eleni Daniilidou advanced to the second round at Wimbledon yesterday after defeating Argentinean opponent Gisela Dulko in three sets, 5-7, 6-3, 8-6.

The game began on Monday but was interrupted by rainfall. It was Daniilidou’s best Wimbledon outing to date in women’s singles competition. The 24-year-old, currently ranked 47th in the world, reached the fourth round in 2002. Dulko, ranked 36 in the world, has made it as far as the third round at Wimbledon on two occasions, in 2004 and 2006. Daniilidou wil now face the Czech Republic’s Lucie Safarova, ranked 25, in the second round.

Cyprus’s Marcos Baghdatis, the world’s number 16, and Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis, number 82, started play in their first-round game late last night.

Marcos Baghdatis kicks off Wimbledon campaign June 23, 2007

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Marcos Baghdatis, the Cyprus’ tennis star, kicks off his Wimbledon campaign next week against Ernests Gulbis after the draw was announced yesterday.

Baghdatis beat the Latvian, ranked 84 in the world, on the only previous occasion that they have met in Sydney earlier this year, and he could face Lleyton Hewitt, Tomas Berdych, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, who are all in the bottom half of the draw, should he progress deep into the tournament.

The 22-year-old seems to be in good form on one of his favourite surfaces, only losing in the final of the Halle warm-up event last Sunday to Berdych. Baghdatis played superbly at SW19 last year, beating former champion Hewitt and British hope Andy Murray on his way to the semi-finals, where he lost in straight sets to world number two Nadal.

His performances were even more remarkable considering the fact that he lost in the first round in Halle a couple of weeks before the start of Wimbledon, stating: “Grass is for playing football”. Following his heroics, he changed his tune. “I like grass courts and it fits my game playing really aggressive,” he said. “There is nothing I don’t like about it now.”
His style of play backed-up his words as he treated the fans to a delightful mixture of searing ground strokes and audacious drop shots.

When compiling their seedings, the All-England Club usually breaks with tradition by taking past performances on grass into account rather than sticking with the latest rankings.

Baghdatis seems to be the main beneficiary of the system this year on the men’s side and has been seeded number ten, six places above his ATP ranking.