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Dimitrov Sets Baker Clash; Fish Beaten

Cincinnati, U.S.A.

Baker© Western & Southern OpenBrian Baker is playing his first tour-level event since January.

Grigor Dimitrov will face Brian Baker in the second round of the Western & Southern Open after upsetting No. 13 seed Nicolas Almagro 7-6(3), 6-4 on Monday in Cincinnati.

The Bulgarian claimed his 27th win of the season in 87 minutes as he fired 19 aces and broke Almagro twice. He takes a 1-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head lead into his meeting with Baker, having beaten the American at the start of the year in Brisbane.

World No. 185 Baker won his first tour-level match since January as he defeated Denis Istomin 7-5, 6-3 in 80 minutes. The 28 year old had been sidelined since the Australian Open, where he endured a torn meniscus in his right knee, returning last week at the Aptos Challenger. 

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“It's great to be back out there for sure, that's number one,” said Baker. “You're not probably going to feel your best your first couple matches back, after that long of a layoff. But I think the two matches I got last week, even though the conditions weren't very close, they at least helped get those cobwebs out of the way. Still had a few today. Overall, it was a good match out there. I was pleased with how things went.”

Another American making a comeback did not fare so well. Philipp Kohlschreiber defeated two-time former Cincinnati finalist Mardy Fish 7-5, 6-2 in 85 minutes. Fish, who was runner-up in 2003 (l. to Roddick) and 2010 (l. to Federer), is playing just his fourth ATP World Tour tournament of the season, having been away from the courts due to heart trouble.

“I feel all right, I just have an awful long way to go tennis wise,” said Fish. “It just kind of shows you how amazing Rafa (Nadal) has been coming back after seven months off. To do what he's done is just not normal. 

“Matches like today and days like today really make you sort of question how far you've got to go, if there's still that sort of fire and drive that you need, and that's tested.

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