By Chris Oddo Photo Credit Kenzo Tibouillard/ AFP Getty
(May 30, 2012)—Brian Baker’s magical clay-court run came to a dramatic conclusion today on Court Philippe Chatrier. After dropping the first two sets to eleventh-seeded Gilles Simon, Baker engineered an eleventh-hour comeback to level the match at two sets apiece before finally running out of gas in the fifth, 6-4, 6-1, 6-7(4), 1-6, 6-0.
Simon advances to the third round, where he will face Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland.
18th-seeded Wawrinka defeated Pablo Andujar in Spain in four sets, 7-6(3), 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-1.
For Baker, who was out of professional tennis for six years due to multiple injuries, this could be just the beginning of his return to the upper tier of tennis. After earning a French Open wildcard by winning the USTA’s playoff this spring, Baker stormed his way into the public’s consciousness by reaching the final in Nice last week before finally falling to Nicolas Almagro in the final.
In Paris, Baker won his first Grand Slam match since 2005 when he defeated Xavier Malisse in the first round.
Today, he nearly pulled of the ultimate coup, but Simon, the indefatigable Frenchman, was too good in the fifth set.
Still, Baker leaves Paris with his head—and his hopes—high. He came from relative obscurity just two month ago, and ended up on Court Philippe Chatrier going toe-to-toe with one of the world’s best players.
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