Wawrinka wins Dubai title after marathon tiebreak

Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:33pm EST
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By Matt Smith

DUBAI (Reuters) - Stan Wawrinka edged out Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis in a nerve-jangling, near-30 minute tiebreak to secure the Dubai Duty Free Championship with a 6-4 7-6(13) triumph on Saturday.

Wawrinka’s path to victory had been eased by the retirements of world number one Novak Djokovic and Australian prospect Nick Kyrgios in the earlier rounds but the Swiss often toiled against surprise finalist Baghdatis, whom he beat for a sixth successive time.

World number four Wawrinka was gifted the first set by a Baghdatis double fault -- his third of that game alone -- and a tepid second set was notable for not featuring a single break point.

But then followed a 28-point tiebreak in which twice grand slam champion Wawrinka saved five set points before a Baghdatis backhand drifted long to give the Swiss a second title of the year following his victory in Chennai in January.

“It's been an amazing year. I'm playing my best tennis since a few years now so hopefully I can keep this level,” Wawrinka said.

Baghdatis initially played serve and volley with aplomb, while Wawrinka's stinging backhand was lethal from the baseline, but that early assurance proved fleeting as both players made a catalog of errors.

Wawrinka afforded Baghdatis two break points after whipping a forehand wide and the Cypriot converted following another wayward Swiss forehand for a 3-2 first-set lead.

Wawrinka, who was within two points of suffering opening-round elimination at the Aviation Club, immediately broke back with a crosscourt winner past the advancing Baghdatis, who was seeking a first title since 2010.   Continued...

Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland returns the ball to Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus during their final match at the ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships February 27, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah