Sydney, Australia, 11 January 2012 | Matt Trollope
Matthew Ebden will fly the Australian flag when he takes on Marcos Baghdatis in the second round of the Apia International in Sydney later today.
After Lleyton Hewitt and Jelena Dokic both lost their matches at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre yesterday, Ebden remains the only local hope alive in the draw.
He will take on the charismatic Cypriot in the second match of the day on Ken Rosewall Arena.
After losing his first match of 2012 in three tough sets at the Brisbane International, Ebden reversed that result with a three-set win against fifth-seed Marcel Granollers.
“I’m very glad to be through, and I think I can make a lot of improvements still which is a good thing. I don’t think I played probably my best tennis … but I’m glad I competed well and was able to get the win – that’s what’s most important,” he said.
“I think I’m getting a lot better and I think with that first win of the year it will give me a lot of confidence and just get on that wining role again, and it makes you feel like you’re right in amongst it.”
The road now gets tougher for Ebden – Baghdatis was an Australian Open finalist and Wimbledon semifinalist in 2006 and is former top 10 player. Should he win that, big names such as Juan Martin Del Potro, John Isner and Richard Gasquet loom further down the draw.
“Every match at this level is always difficult and anyone you’re playing in this tournament is in the top 40, 50 in the world so it’s always going to be tough matches,” Ebden said.
“(Baghdatis) plays some exciting tennis, so I think it will be another good match, and I’ll keep trying to get over the line each time.”