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Baghdatis wins China Open for first ATP title

BEIJING -- Marcos Baghdatis won
his first career ATP title with a 6-4, 6-0 victory over Croatian
Mario Ancic at the China Open on Sunday.

The 21-year-old third seed has already reached the final at
the Australian Open and semifinals at Wimbledon in his
breakthrough year and becomes the first Cypriot to win an ATP
title.

"It's my first title, it's very, very cool," he said. "I
played a great match today. It's amazing I'm very happy."

The fourth-seeded Ancic, who returned this week after two months
out with an injured knee, made too many errors to threaten the
athletic Baghdatis.

From the start, Baghdatis, who has risen from 85th to ninth
in the world over the last 12 months, pounced on any looseness
in Ancic's serve and the tall Croatian had to send down 124
mph-plus bullets to guarantee a point.

He successfully fended off a break through four deuces in
the seventh game but his game fell apart in the 10th when
unforced errors gave Baghdatis three set points.

Ancic summoned up a 129-mph serve but the Cypriot was equal
to it and pounced on the ensuing approach shot to send the ball
past his opponent, who was left in a heap on the ground.

Brimming with confidence, Baghdatis broke Ancic in the
second game and picked his shots through the remainder of the
match.

He claimed his first victory over Ancic in four attempts
when the Croatian went long with a forehand after an hour and
nine minutes.

"I think Marcos played really, really well," said the
22-year-old Ancic. "In the second set I think you could see that
this week had taken a lot out of me. It was really tough
physically and mentally and by the end I was really dead.

"I'm very proud of myself this week."

Baghdatis also paid credit to the world No. 12 for his
performance this week after being so long out of action.

"Mario made an incredible comeback from injury and I hope he
qualifies for the Masters Cup," added Baghdatis.

Eleven ATP champions race points from his victory in China
will put Baghdatis above American James Blake and into the
eighth and final spot that would guarantee a spot at the Masters
Cup in Shanghai in November. Ancic is 10th.

"It's a long road," Baghdatis said. "I hope I can come back
to China because it's a dream to play in the Masters."