Wimbledon: Baker takes pride from Roddick defeat
JAMIE Baker was left with memories to last a lifetime after managing to put up a show against Andy Roddick, a two-times Wimbledon finalist, in front of 11,000 spectators.
The pair finally completed their rain-delayed match yesterday evening, with Roddick running out the victor in straight sets 7-6 (7/1), 6-4, 7-5.
The American now goes on to play Bjorn Phau from Germany in the second round on No 2 court today, but Baker is left with the knowledge that he ran Roddick close in front of an appreciative crowd.
Resuming a set and a break up after a rain delay from Tuesday, Roddick clinched the second set of this first-round match with ease before edging a nervy third set. Baker, ranked 161 places below Roddick at 215, started off confidently when the players returned to Court One.
However, he could not prevent Roddick going two sets ahead. The American moved in for the kill in the ninth game of the third set but Baker dug deep and survived three break points, in what was as good a game-save as has been seen in these championships. Roddick, though, was not to be denied, and, serving for the match, the former world No 1 proved his worth by holding to love.
“I thought I settled in to the match well,” said Baker later. “I loved every second of playing in that sort of atmosphere. The cheers when I won certain points were literally deafening. It was a real buzz to play in front of that.
“I do not feel I am invading someone’s territory,” he added. “I am part of this. If anything, that might be the thing I am most proud of in this match. He has played so many times on this court but it looked pretty even right from the start.”
Turning his attention to his future plans, the 25 year-old said: “I want to kick on now and I need to use this as a real learning curve. I am playing tennis at a level well within the top 100 now. The last three weeks has definitely shown that.
“It is now a question of me continuing along the path of my journey of improvement. How can I use the last three weeks to increase the rate of that improvement? Now I go back to my bread and butter.”
Baker has become the preferred practice partner to Andy Murray, whose coach Ivan Lendl made sure Murray played the slice shots preferred by Roddick in preparation for yesterday’s contest. The gesture was appreciated by Baker, who was applauded for his efforts by Roddick. “I thought he played really well,” said the American. “The first set and the third set definitely could have gone either way. He came out very agressively, with an agressive game plan, and executed it. He played a good match. As far as what happens from here, it’s tough for me to say.”
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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