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Baghdatis to play Gasquet in Sydney final

Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus overcame stubborn resistance from Mardy Fish of the US at the Sydney International to move into the final where he will play Frenchman Richard Gasquet (pictured).


AFP - Marcos Baghdatis will play Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the final of the Sydney International after a titanic semi-final on Friday.

The 42nd-ranked Cypriot, an Australian Open finalist, battled for almost three hours before beating American Mardy Fish 6-4, 6-7 (7/9), 7-6 (7/5).

Baghdatis, who lost to Roger Federer in the 2006 Australian Open final, waged a desperate struggle with Fish before claiming his eighth career final appearance on his fourth match point.

Gasquet reached his first Sydney final after a 6-3, 7-5 win over fellow Frenchman Julien Benneteau, after falling at the semi-final stage in 2009 and 2007.

Gasquet, ranked 53, is the first Frenchman since Guy Forget in 1992 to play in the Sydney final and will be chasing his sixth career title and his first since Mumbai in 2007.

He and Baghdatis have yet to play each other on the ATP Tour, although they have met in the juniors.

"I had some moments of the match that I lost my concentration, but the most important thing is that I won the match and I'm playing a final tomorrow, so that's pretty positive," Baghdatis said.

"It's been a hard two years; 2008, 2009 were tough. It's nice coming into the year playing finals and having a chance to win another title."

Gasquet prevailed in his semi-final after the Hawk-Eye review system decided in his favour on match point after the ball was shown to have clipped the line.

"With Hawk-Eye you never know what can happen. I was very lucky with this point for sure," Gasquet said. "Otherwise it could have gone to a tiebreak and you never know. It was better to win with this shot."

Gasquet said it was difficult playing an ATP Tour match against a fellow Frenchman.

"Mentally, it wasn't easy to play against Benneteau," he said. "He's a very good player, a French player, and it's never easy to play against a countryman. I know him and he knows my game."

Former world top-10 player Gasquet is climbing the rankings after being cleared of doping last month by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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