Melbourne: Marcos Baghdatis warmed up for the Australian Open with a 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 win over Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu on Thursday at the Kooyong Classic, a decade after reaching his only Grand Slam final. In 2006, the smiling Cypriot generated excitement with his run to the title match at Melbourne Park, where he lost to Roger Federer playing at the peak of his powers.
Baghdatis remains proud of his achievement. "It was the best two weeks in my tennis life," the 30-year-old said. "I have such great memories and sensations. "It makes me happy to think about them, I'm always happy to be back playing in Australia." Baghdatis, ranked 48 in the world, defeated Mathieu with 28 winners but broke on only one of his eight chances.
The Frenchman saved a match point in the penultimate game of the second set before Baghdatis finished off victory in the next game with a passing winner down the line. "I felt much better today on court, more explosive. I moved better and served better. It's good to get in two matches before the Open," said Baghdatis.
Meanwhile, Briton Kyle Edmund handed Australian teenager Omar Jasika a third loss at the Grand Slam tune-up event. Edmund, who played the opening rubber in November as Britain won the Davis Cup over Belgium, defeated Jasika 6-3, 6-3 with temperatures were more than halved from a steamy 41 Celsius the day before. He notched 21 winners and sent over eight aces while Jasika produced 43 unforced errors.
An Australian Open qualifier in 2015, Edmund said he was happy for any matches he could get leading to the Open on Monday.
"The more matches you play, the more comfortable you get. I have 12 months more experience now than I did last year," he said.
The original 12-man event was thrown into disarray on Wednesday as Australian drawcard Nick Kyrgios quit his match with a foot injury and German Alexander Zverev then withdrew with a shoulder injury, forcing cancellation of his match against Edmund.