Del Potro loses rag with crowd, then match

Thu, 12 Jan 13:33:00 2012

Top seed Juan Martin del Potro was dumped out of the Sydney International quarter-finals after becoming upset with a partisan crowd.

Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina loses the grip on his racket during his match against Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus at the Sydney International tennis tournament - 0

Argentine Del Potro more or less matched Cypriot opponent Marcos Baghdatis like for like in the stats, but served only half as many aces (seven against 12) as he went down 7-6(7) 6-4.

Baghdatis, the Sydney champion in 2010, was cheered on by the Australian crowd - leading an upset Del Potro to complain to the umpire at the end of the first set after they shouted on his set point.

Official Fergus Murphy offered to request more security guards to control the situation. While the crowd remained raucous in the second set, world number 11 Del Potro, the former US Open champion who has battled back from injury, voiced no further concerns.

Afterwards, Del Potro seemed clueless as to why Baghdatis receives such noisy support in Australia, home to a large Greek Cypriot population, but played down his complaint.

"I don't know where Cyprus is, if it's close to Australia or not," Del Potro said. "But many guys come to here to see his game and follow his tennis.

"Sometimes it's difficult when the crowd talks during the point, but I really love to play with this kind of crowd.

"Sometimes someone is cheering for Marcos, someone is cheering for me, but I didn't lose any points because of the crowd. Marcos is always motivated when he's playing here in Australia because many people come to see his games.

"Hopefully in Melbourne I will have more fans cheering for me at the Australian Open."

Baghdatis, runner-up at the 2006 Australian Open, was unaware of any crowd problems.

"I don't see any problem," he said. "The only one time was at the set point when somebody was talking during the point, or shouting. But I mean, it disturbed me, too. I was lucky to win the point. That's all that was bad.

"Was an average crowd for me. Was fine. They were not doing anything bad. It's nice to have that support. I played against Andre Agassi in his last US Open tournament and I was against 23,000 people. I can tell you, I didn't feel very well in that court. But I never complained.

"I have lots of relatives here, my grandma lives here and I just love coming back every year. My Lebanese food from my grandma makes me feel good.

"I played great today, I had a not so good match yesterday in tough conditions and [my coach] just said to go for it and I went for it. I was playing really aggressive. It was great."

Baghdatis faces Frenchman Julien Benneteau in the semi-finals after he accounted for Russia's Alex Bogomolov Jr 6-2 6-4.

Qualifier Denis Istomin caused another upset, knocking out third seed Richard Gasquet 6-4 7-6(4).

The Uzbek player, who has only dropped one set in his six matches this week, reaches his first semi-final since 2010.

He will face Jarkko Nieminen in the last four after he beat Bobby Reynolds 6-3 6-3.

Eurosport / Reuters

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