MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 10:  Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus plays a backhand against Kevin Anderson of South Africa  in the 2018 Kooyong Classic at Kooyong on January 10, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Baghdatis entertains at Kooyong defeating big man Anderson

Posted on January 10, 2018

Marcos Baghdatis is still a beloved player on an Australian tennis court and he had the support of the crowd on his way to defeating US Open finalist Kevin Anderson at the 2018 Priceline Pharmacy Kooyong Classic.

The Cypriot, who reached the final of the Australian Open twelve years ago against Roger Federer, prepared for this year’s Grand Slam at Melbourne Park with a competitive 6-4 3-6 6-3 win against the tall South African.

“Definitely it was a strong match, it’s always nice to get a match in the same conditions with some crowd and the pressure of playing,” Baghdatis said after the match.

“It’s definitely an exhibition but you still have the pressure of a match and you want to perform and I think it’s a great way to prepare for a Grand Slam.”

The 32-year-old, who has a career high ranking of eight from 2006, was ranked as low as 34 early last season and believes he is in good enough shape to take some scalps at the Open.

“I’m feeling fit for sure, it’s just now a matter of relaxing and finding a way to take the extra pressure out, trying to deal with the pressure after you see the draw,” he added.

“I had a great off-season, I don’t think there is any limits, I’m playing great tennis which I showed today and with the way I was practicing the last five weeks at home.

“I believe in myself again, it’s now all about relaxing, I feel great and now I can just find my rhythm.”

Anderson was not too displeased with his performance ahead of the Australian Open, where he must be considered a legitimate threat after playing against world No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the final at Flushing Meadows last year.

“It was my first time here, the club is amazing, so it was cool to be here,” the world No. 11 said of the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club.

“Obviously, I’ve known about it for a long time as it’s got a lot of history and it’s always fun playing Marcos, especially in Australia he’s got a lot of fans here.”

The 31-year-old was happy with the speed of his booming serve over the three sets and will be making sure he uses all his weapons from the first match at Melbourne Park.

“I can take a lot of experience from that (US Open) but each match has its own challenges so making that final is not making me automatically win any matches,” he explained.

“So, you have to come out and fight, but I can learn a lot from it and I’m very motivated to put myself in that same position again.”

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