Baghdatis Pulls Double Duty to Reach Chengdu Final
Marcos Baghdatis had to win two matches in one day on Saturday at the Chengdu Open but the Cypriot pulled it off and now, he'll earn his reward: a chance to win his first ATP World Tour title since Sydney 2010.
The 32-year-old Baghdatis won the final game of his Chengdu quarter-final, beating Chinese Taipei's Yen-Hsun Lu 6-3, 6-2 to reach his third semi-final of the season.
Later in the day, Baghdatis returned to take on Argentina's Guido Pella, who had not dropped a set all tournament and had upset top seed Dominic Thiem in the second round. But Baghdatis hit 12 aces and lost his serve only once in the final two sets to advance past Pella 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 in just over two hours.
“I feel great because I think I kept a very good level throughout the match,” Baghdatis said. “I'm pretty happy I am improving and finding my movement back and my energy on court and keeping it for two hours.”
The veteran Baghdatis will be playing in his 14th tour-level final and his first since February 2016 (Dubai, l. to Wawrinka). He will face Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin, who reached his fourth tour-level final by knocking out fifth seed Yuichi Sugita 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-0.
Istomin won almost 80 per cent of his first-serve points to beat Sugita, the lone remaining seed in the draw. “I'm really happy with my serve this tournament. I was working a lot on my serve,” said Istomin, who finished with 11 aces on Saturday.
“I'm just trying to bring my best tennis,” Istomin said. “It's going to be tricky. I just go on court and try to do my best.”