By Andreas Vou
MARCOS Baghdatis has won his first singles title since 2010 after defeating Marinko Matosevic 6-4 6-3 in the Aegon Trophy final hosted in Nottingham, England.
The Cypriot star showed signs of his former self in the tournament, playing with an assured confidence which has rarely been seen since he was competing for Grand Slam titles in 2006.
Following the victory, Baghdatis admitted that he is feeling much more comfortable on the court and is playing with a smile on his face.
“After these wins I’ve kind of found myself, my game, my attitude on court and the way I want to play tennis. I’m alone here with no coach. I’m playing tennis and doing things that I want to do and don’t have someone telling me what to do. That is a big change for me. I guess it makes me feel much freer in the head. I don’t think so much, I just act and do what I think is good on court and this has helped me a lot this last week.
“It feels great. I felt I played really well throughout the week. Every match I got through I felt better and better and in the final I was just playing really solid, not giving too many points away and served well. I’m happy with how I’m playing and how I feel on court, fitness-wise and mentally.”
Baghdatis did not drop a set throughout the tournament. He defeated Germany’s Benjamin Becker in the first round 6-4 6-4 and beat Kenny de Schepper of France in the quarter-final by the same scoreline.
His biggest challenge came in the semis against top seed Igor Sijsling from the Netherlands. In a match which saw a long delay due to rain, Baghdatis was able to remain composed to reach the final with a 6-4 6-2 win.
The former world number eight managed nine aces and converted three of his seven break points to win the match in a little over 70 minutes. He showed great resolve to recover all four break points which he faced in the second and decisive set.
The Limassol native has spent a large part of the current year training at the world-renowned IMG Academy in Florida in order to get into top shape and form and the hard work looks to be finally paying off for the 29-year-old. His latest win gives him a timely confidence boost ahead of Wimbledon, as well as a tidy €9,000 in prize money.
There was no rest for the Cypriot as he was back on court on Tuesday afternoon at the Queen’s Club in London where he has been handed a wildcard entry. He continued his good form against Bradley Klahn in the first round, fighting back from a set down to beat the American 6-7 6-2 6-1.