Wimbledon 2012: Comeback kid Brian Baker's return hits new high

Updated: 30 June 2012 19:00 IST

Comeback kid Brian Baker's fairytale return hit a new high on Saturday as the American qualifier moved into the Wimbledon fourth round with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory over France's Benoit Paire.

Wimbledon 2012: Comeback kid Brian Baker's return hits new high
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London:

Comeback kid Brian Baker's fairytale return hit a new high on Saturday as the American qualifier moved into the Wimbledon fourth round with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory over France's Benoit Paire.

Baker lost six years of his career to an assortment of injuries that left him needing five different operations on a hernia, then his left and right hips and finally his right elbow.

He eventually felt ready to return to tennis in July 2011 and the 27-year-old has enjoyed a remarkably successful time back on the circuit.

But even the world number 126, who had never been past the second round of a Grand Slam until this week, might have laughed if someone suggested he would still be around for the second week of Wimbledon.

Yet, after seeing off Paire, the American will be among the last 16 men remaining in the tournament on Monday and he faces either Lukas Rosol, the Czech who stunned two-time champion Rafael Nadal, or German 27th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber for a place in the last eight.

Baker, who started the year ranked 458, had hoped to be given a Wimbledon wildcard, but when that wasn't forthcoming he battled through three rounds of qualifying to make the main draw.

After reaching the second round of the French Open last month in what was his first Grand Slam appearance since the 2005 US Open, he continued his excellent form at Wimbledon with straight sets wins over the higher ranked Rui Machado and Jarkko Nieminen.

Paire, the world number 55, defeated 22nd seed Alexandr Dolgopolov in the second round. But he couldn't avoid becoming the latest victim of Baker's incredible success story.

Baker took the first set with the only break and looked well in control when he broke for a 3-2 lead in the second set.

But Paire broke straight back and then leveled the match with a perfectly-timed challenge on break point as Baker served to stay in the set.

But Baker refused to be unsettled and hit back with a double break to take the third set in emphatic fashion.

With the momentum firmly back in his favour, Baker landed the knock-out blow with an early break in the fourth set before sealing the win on his second match point.

Victory also meant he will move to around the 78 mark at least when the new rankings are released after the tournament.

Topics : Tennis Benoit Paire Wimbledon 2012 Brian Baker
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