Last year, Marcos Baghdatis was the runner up at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic. Today, in the quarterfinals, the seventh seed and 2006 Australian Open finalist was cut down by Donald Young 6-3,7-6.
Although this was their first meeting, with the success he’s had this week, Young was not intimidated by his opponent’s credentials. Young took advantage of Baghdatis’ dismal serving, 39 percent first serve, and converted the only break point donated early on in the opening set.
However, the second game of the next set, on triple break point, Baghdatis connected with a winner. With Young dumping a return in the net, Baghdatis raced to a 3-0 lead.
After finally holding serve, Young broke his adversary to get back on serve. Later, with Baghdatis’ forehand sailing long, Young secured double break point. With Baghdatis’ forehand crosscourt traveling wide, Young was at 4-3.
Yet, by gifting a double fault and with a miscue on a backhand, Young faced triple break point. When the American’s backhand up the line found the net, the players were back on equal footing.
As a result of a backhand volley winner, Baghdatis had two chances to break and capture the second set. But with his backhand return and volley off their mark, Young was at deuce. One more break point had to be wiped out before Young could send the set into a tiebreaker.
The initial point went to Young as Baghdatis flubbed a forehand up the line. Subsequent to erasing Young’s mini-break advantage, Baghadtis double faulted.
Eventually, the Cypriot squared the tiebreaker at 4 all. But when Baghdatis fumbled a backhand volley, Young was two points from the win.
With a spectacular overhead winner and backhand error from his rival, Young clinched his first ATP semifinal spot.
Baghdatis admitted that he was somewhat tired this afternoon after playing two matches yesterday which went the distance. The Cypriot felt that his energy level was low. The fact that Young kept him on the move was not helpful.
With his serve inconsistent and Young “ playing smart”, Baghdatis said even if it had gone to a third set, he is not sure that his experience would have carried him through.
In reference to Young’s future in the game, Baghdatis stated that he’s “very talented, but it’s a tough world out there. . . [He] has to keep working hard and fight the way he did today. If he does. . . .he will have a bright future”.
After the match, Young expressed that it’s thrilling to find himself in his first ATP semifinal particularly with victories over “the quality players. . . I’m very excited and hopefully I can keep moving forward”.
Subsequent to obtaining the crucial break for 4-3 in the second set and dumping his serve at love, Young stayed focused. MiamiTennisNews.com inquired whether his current success is attributable to his mentally maturing.
Young replied “for sure. Before, that would have set me off. But, [now], I try to look at the positive. . . Even though he broke back, I was actually still ahead . . .and could still close it out in two”.
As far as his goal for the remainder of the year when asked by MiamiTennisNews.com, Young set the bar at breaking into the top fifty. For him, that would define a successful year.
Next up for Young will be Radek Stepanek. Again, he will be clashing for the first time with a veteran. Young expressed “I’ve seen him play quite a bit and I don’t know what it will feel like on the court”. Nevertheless, Young opined that he will continue to do what he has been doing and hopes that will get him to his maiden ATP final.