Published: Friday January 11, 2013 MYT 10:47:00 AM
Updated: Friday January 11, 2013 MYT 1:52:04 PM
Del Potro beats Baghdatis to reach Kooyong final
MELBOURNE: Argentine Juan Martin del Potro crushed Marcos Baghdatis 6-4, 6-1 to reach the final of the Kooyong Classic Friday, taking barely an hour to complete the demolition job.
Cypriot Baghdatis, the Australian Open finalist from 2006, was left flat-footed on a windy day at the former home of the Open as he went down with more than 20 unforced errors in his abbreviated appearance.
Del Potro, the 2009 US Open winner who has twice reached the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park, kept his mistakes to fewer than 10 in the rout at the tune-up event prior to Monday's start of the first major of the season.
Del Potro will test himself on Saturday against Australian Lleyton Hewitt, who won the Kooyong title in his first appearance in 2011.
The 24-year-old Argentine will need to put his emotions aside as he takes on his favourite player from childhood.
"Hewitt is my idol," said the South American, who has won two of the three matches he has played against the 31-year-old Australian, a former world number one and two time Grand Slam winner.
"It will be an interesting match for me. He was always my favourite player. he's a good example for me, a great champion."
Once del Potro got his big serve uncranked and found his feet in the blowing, hot conditions, there was little hope for Baghdatis, who commands a huge fan base in multi-ethnic Melbourne due to his Cypriot nationality.
Del Potro dominated in the closing stages, winning eight of the last nine games as he uncoiled his arsenal in the one-way second set.
"It's a nice court to play on, and this week is very good preparation for the Open, It's important to be winning matches," he said.
"I improved a bit today but I need to do that even more for next week if I want to have a chance to win.
Baghdatis plays his Australian Open first round against Albert Ramos of Spain while del Potro, the 16th seed, faces a qualifier. - AFP