‘Crazy tiebreaker’ in memorable final
An exhausting 28-point tie breaker was needed to separate the two finalists in this year’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, with Stan Wawrinka eventually walking off centre court victorious.
The much sought-after Dubai STP title rarely disappoints and the clash between Swiss Wawrinka and Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus will be remembered for its eventual score of 6-4, 7-6 (15-13).
It is the 30-year-old’s ninth successive victory in a final and his second title of the year after Chennai.
Despite only covering two sets, the match lasted almost two hours with a back-and-forth tiebreaker.
After leading 4-1 and seemingly on his way to a convincing win, Wawrinka was forced to save five set points before triumphing after a Baghdatis’ return went wide.
“Until six-all in the tiebreak, I was always up with a mini-break, Wawrinka said after the match. “[I think] I did two double faults and two or three quick mistakes.
“Then it started to be all about nerves, six-six, seven-seven, ten-ten. You try to stay there, try to play simple, aggressive. It was good to finish it in two sets.”
It is the first time in eight years that the 2015 French Open champion has played in the tournament.
He added: “It's an amazing end of week, for sure. It was a tough beginning, but I was always trying to fight, always trying to improve day by day even if I wasn't playing great at the beginning.
“I'm really happy to have another trophy. It's an amazing feeling, especially today as I was playing some really good tennis. It was a tough final.”
“This was my best match of the week, I'm happy with my level today. I had to fight until the end. It was a quite crazy tiebreaker.”
Meanwhile, Baghdatis is still looking for his first trophy since a 2010 title in Sydney.
With five successive losses in finals since then, the fellow 30-year-old said after his latest performance that he sees a ‘small light in the tunnel’.
“I'm happy I'm back and playing this kind of tennis now. It's just to continue improving, and play at this level throughout the year,” he said.
“I was a bit unlucky in the tiebreaker - that was the difference. But more matches throughout the year at this level would make me go in there and believe from the beginning that I can win, not wait three, four games and start believing.
"I'm playing very good tennis. This week I think I was a bit lucky, but I also found a way to win. I didn't win the tournament but I won a lot more.”