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Baghdatis fan favorite against Federer

Marcos Baghdatis will have to beat Roger Federer to win the Australian Open. But, even if he doesn't beat the top seed in the final, Brad Gilbert writes that the 20-year-old Cypriot became the face of this year's tournament.

Updated: January 27, 2006, 10:28 AM ET
By Brad Gilbert | Special to ESPN.com

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Marcos Baghdatis has put the energy and passion in this year's Australian Open.

He came in as a pretender and absolutely has earned his way into the final against Roger Federer by beating three straight top-10 players. He plays with a lot of zeal, and it's fun to see the crowd get juiced up behind him.

There's a parallel between what Baghdatis is doing and the run Gustavo Kuerten made at the 1997 French Open.

Kuerten was 20 years old (as ...

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