Stan Wawrinka edged out Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis in a nerve-jangling, near-30 minute tiebreak to secure a 6-4 7-6(13) win in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships on Saturday.
Wawrinka’s path to victory had been eased by the retirements of world No.1 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.
It is Wawrinka’s ninth consecutive victory in a final; the last time he lost in a title match came back in 2013, when he fell in the ‘s-Hertogenbosch decider to Nicolas Mahut.
World No.4 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 two-time 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.
“It was a crazy tiebreak. Until 6-6 I was always up with a mini break … I did two or three quick mistakes. Then it starts to be all about nerves. You try to play simple, aggressive and it was good to finish in two sets.”
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