Baghdatis Advances at Australian Open, Losses for Tsitsipas & Sakkari
Marcos Baghdatis advanced to the second round of the Australian Open, while Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari suffered first round exits.
Baghdatis, the 2006 runner-up, was able to shake off a slow start and rally back to take the first set 7-6 over Indian qualifier Yuki Bhambri. One break of serve was all the Cypriot needed in the second set, as he took it 6-4. Baghdatis wrapped up the match in straight sets, after taking the third 6-3.
The Cypriot, currently ranked 123, will have a tough second round opponent in 30th-seeded Andrey Rublev. The Russian had a tough five-set win over two-time semifinalist and former world number three David Ferrer. Rublev, just 20 years of age, appears to be in good form after following up on his 2017 US Open quarterfinal run by reaching the final two weeks ago in Qatar. This match will be the fourth (and last) match played after 11:00 AM local time on Show Court 2 in Melbourne Park on Wednesday. The winner will likely face third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in the third round.
19-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas fell in his Australian Open main draw debut to 18-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-1 6-3 7-6, in a match between the two youngest players in the top 100 of the world rankings. Despite being far from his best, the Greek fought until the end. Tsitsipas was able to come back from 0-3 down in the third set to take it to a tiebreak, but unfortunately for him, the Canadian edged the Greek 7-5 in the tiebreaker to take the match in straight sets.
On the women’s side, Maria Sakkari lost a tough battle in three sets to Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic. After the Greek got an early break to take a 2-1 lead in the first set, much to the delight of the energetic Greek fans, the talented Czech would go on to win eight consecutive games to take a 6-2 3-0 lead. Sakkari seemed down and out, but as she normally does, she fought back to win the set in a tiebreak and force a decider. The third set seemed to be dead even, until Siniakova got the break to take a 4-3 lead. Sakkari continued to battle, and despite saving a match point, it was not enough as the Czech would edge her and take it 6-4. Sakkari had been defending third round points from last year, so a significant drop in the world rankings (currently number 55) will occur after this result.