• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Baker's big chance to break into top 200 slips away

At some stage today, Jamie Baker will board a flight home from Melbourne, heading back to the "grind" of the National Tennis Centre at Roehampton.

His 7-6, 7-5, 6-2 defeat by Lukas Rosol, the conqueror of Rafa Nadal at Wimbledon last summer, left a sour taste, a missed opportunity to earn vital prize money, ranking points and more security for the months ahead.

That he served for both the first and second sets against the Czech is likely to eat away at Baker on the journey home but when the Scot gets over the pain of losing a match he might have won, he should be satisfied at what he achieved in winning three matches to qualify and genuinely be optimistic for the road ahead.

"It's very hard to think about congratulating myself on what happened before [in qualifying] because I don't feel out of place," he said. "It wasn't a big deal today, it was just a first-round match, just an opportunity and I feel that's actually my level."

Had he beaten Rosol, Baker would have moved well inside the top 200, a significant step on his way to the top 100, his long-term goal. As it is, he will rise a few places but remain outside the 200 mark. That means he will have to try to qualify for some of the lower-level ATP events, the "250s", beginning perhaps in Zagreb at the beginning of February.

"That's going straight back in at this type of level," he said. "I'm going to try and do as much of that as I possibly can. I think my tennis belongs at those kind of tournaments – I don't feel out of place, at all.

"Getting through those tournaments isn't going to be any more difficult than this. I think if I put myself in the mix enough times and continue to play in the manner I've been playing – trying to attack a bit more – I think I've definitely got the game to win as many matches as I lose."

While Baker continues to strive to make a living, Roger Federer continues to make the game look ridiculously easy at times. The world No.2, who had no match practice coming in, cruised past France's Benoit Paire 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 yesterday.

The only previous time Federer chose to play here without any warm-up tournaments was in 2008, when he lost in the semi-finals and then revealed he was recovering from mononucleosis. The second seed plays Russia's Nikolay Davydenko in round two but he may have one eye on a potential third-round meeting with Bernard Tomic, the 20-year-old Australian who is starting to show his real potential after a dip in the second half of 2012.

Having won his first title in Sydney last weekend, Tomic beat Leonardo Mayer of Argentina 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 and is certainly not lacking in confidence. "I needed to build something of my own and that's why I spent two months trying to become fitter, better, and mentally stronger," he said. "Now on the court, it's a piece of cake."

Contextual targeting label: 
Sport

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

135528