2006 WIMBLEDON

SF

          RAFAEL NADAL v MARCOS BAGHDATIS

6-1, 7-5, 6-3

 

 

Twenty-year-old Nadal beat the charismatic Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis to become the youngest men's finalist since Boris Becker in 1986.

Rafael Nadal set up a Wimbledon Final against Roger Federer after overcoming a spirited challenge from Marcos Baghdatis. The two players served up a feast of fine tennis, though it was Nadal's consistency that was the key as he came through 6-1 7-5 6-3.
The world number two raced through the first set, breaking serve three times as the Cypriot began nervously, making frequent unforced errors and being kept on the run.
The second set was an entirely different affair. Baghdatis finally found his feet, and he began to hit the lines with his groundstrokes. The Centre-court crowd were kept enthralled by some captivating rallies and tremendous play from both men, as neither gave quarter.
"When he's on defense, he's playing unbelievable," Baghdatis said. "And when he's attacking, the ball is so fast."
Nadal and Baghdatis engaged in thrilling exchanges for 21/2 hours.
The most spectacular point came when Nadal broke to 3-1 in the third set. He slipped while corralling a drop shot, but Baghdatis' passing attempt clipped the net cord and popped up. Nadal rose and swatted a reflex volley to end the point.
Nadal saved all nine break points he faced against Baghdatis and compiled a 43-16 ratio of winners to unforced errors.

Baghdatis slipped many times on the grass surface and his movement may have been hampered from lingering groin and back injuries from previous matches.  But the Cypriot fought back with his amazing ability to take the ball early and punish it like a much younger Agassi.  Baghdatis also did what most others never dare to do; he used the drop shot repeatedly after backing up Nadal behind the baseline with his huge ground strokes.  It didn't always work, but it made for some exciting tennis as Nadal refused to concede any point no matter how far he had to run.

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