Magnifique! Brian Baker Defeats Xavier Malisse in French Open First Round
PARIS, France - - Belmont University men's tennis assistant coach Brian Baker defeated Xavier Malisse of Belgium, 6-3, 7-6, 7-6, in the first round of the 2012 French Open Monday.
Baker, a Nashville native whose career resurrection is becoming the stuff of equal parts Hollywood and legend, was playing in his first grand slam tournament since 2005, where ironically he dropped a second round U.S. Open match to Malisse.
After winning Futures Tour events over the winter, and a Challenger series event in Savannah, Ga. last month, Baker earned a wildcard entry into this year's French Open.
But the comeback was merely beginning, as last week, Baker defeated the likes of Gael Monfils, Mikhail Kukushkin, and Nikolay Davydenko in reaching the ATP Nice Open final against world No. 14 Nicolas Almagro.
Less than 48 hours after the excitement of an ATP final, Baker was at it again, seizing control against the former world No. 19 Malisse. Baker was a perfect 2-for-2 on break point chances in winning the opening set 6-3.
In set two, Baker won 86 percent of his first serve points and won a tiebreaker seven points to one.
Set three would go the distance as well, but Baker won the final two points at 5-5 in the tiebreaker to close the match.
All told, Baker had 46 winners on just 27 unforced errors and won 76 percent of first serve points.
Baker advances to face No. 11 seed Gilles Simon of France in the second round. Simon defeated American Ryan Harrison in four sets Monday.