Baker plays his way into the field at Wimbledon

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 9:30pm
Staff reports

Nashville’s Brian Baker has earned a spot in the main draw of his second straight Grand Slam tournament.

Wednesday, Baker won his third Wimbledon men’s qualifying match in three days. His 5-7, 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 victory over France’s Maxime Teixeira catapulted him into one of the 128 spots in the singles draw at the famous tournament, which opens Monday outside London.

Third round matches were best-of-five sets after the first two rounds were best-of-three. Baker, ranked No. 124 in the world, dropped the first set to Teixeira, then blew past the Frenchman, who is ranked No. 216, and lost just five games over the final three sets.

“It feels great, and it’s very exciting,” Baker told after his match. “I started off a little slow [Wednesday] but I was able to turn it around pretty quickly. Once I got the first break point, the floodgates kind of opened up, and I was able to break  [serve] a lot. I had two match points. It’s never easy closing it out.”

Baker, 27, who turned pro in 2003, received a wild card into the French Open tournament four weeks ago and won his opening round match in Paris before falling in five sets in the second round.

He recently returned to the professional tour after a six-year absence that included five operations. Last month he played his way into the field at the French Open.

“I’ll maybe take it easy [Thursday], then Friday, Saturday and Sunday go and hit over at Wimbledon,” Baker said. “The grand slams are the pinnacle of tennis. So it just makes it that much more special coming back and earning my way through [qualifiers], and that feels good,” he said.

The Wimbledon draw will be Friday. Baker will learn his first-round opponent at that time.

The tournament opens Monday.

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