Marcos Baghdatis (above)  has come out swinging tonight against Rafael Nadal in the Western and Southern Financial Group Masters quarter-finals in Cincinnati.  The grungy Cypriot has fired 12 aces and has won an astounding 29/31 points on his first serve, on his way to a 6-4, 3-3, 30-30 scoreline which so far has favored him.

A day after Nadal went a draining 2 hours and 48 minutes with crafty Frenchman Julien Bennetau in the hot sun, Nadal seems to be a step slow, though he has just narrowly held serve and now finds himself at 4 all in the 2nd.  Nadal, an excellent returner, has done a very poor job in that area tonight, against a guy who is not known for serving big.

As it stands right now, these guys are 1 hour and 37 minutes in.  Should Baghdatis prevail this evening, he would play Roger Federer in the semi-finals, and would thwart the possible marquis hardcourt matchup between Federer and Nadal that we have not witnessed in almost 2 years. 

–Crack (,