Unseeded Cypriot through to Australian Open final
Melbourne, Australia, Jan 26 (AP) -- Marcos Baghdatis extended his extraordinary Australian Open run when he became the first Cypriot to reach a grand slam final with a 3-6 5-7 6-3 6-4 6-4 defeat of David Nalbandian.
Baghdatis looked out after conceding the first two sets to the Argentine before scrambling madly through the third and fourth sets to push the match into a fifth.
The fourth seed looked to have regained the upper hand when he broke to lead 4-2 before Baghdatis reeled off the next three games and served for the match.
There was more drama with Baghdatis just three points away from victory, when the heavens opened and rain forced a 30-minute delay.
After the court was cleaned and play resumed, Baghdatis slammed an ace on his second match point to seal his win.
"I'll have to wake up and check if I'm dreaming," said the unseeded Baghdatis - world ranked 54. "I don't know what to say - it's amazing."
"In the first two sets, I was really stressed out. I didn't know what to do. He was playing really good, he was playing really aggressive, so I had no choice except to go in the court and play my game and play aggressive.
"I learned a lot from this match about how to stay calm and to just go on the court and believe in myself."
Baghdatis, who has developed a cult following at Melbourne Park, will now play the winner of Friday's semifinal between world number one Roger Federer and Germany's 21st seed Nicolas Kiefer.
"I got a lot of chances to win the match," said a dejected Nalbandian. "I can't understand how I missed that opportunity to win it."