By Andreas Vou
Marcos Baghdatis retired due to cramps in the tie-break of the deciding set in the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship, after spurning a golden chance to seal the match against Croatian teenager Borna Coric in the final set.
The 18-year-old had started strongly against Baghdatis, taking the first set 6-4.
Coric is the youngest player in the top-100 and is this week enjoying a career-high ranking of 84 so, despite his tender age, he was an opponent who deserved a degree of respect.
Baghdatis bounced back strongly in the second set with a more decisive approach which seemed to catch Coric by surprise as the former world number eight, who is now ranked 62, won the set 6-3 to level the encounter.
Baghdatis’ last match against Croatian opposition ended in victory when the 29-year-old Cypriot beat Ivo Karlovic on his own patch in the opening round of the Zagreb Indoors last month but he was unable to achieve the same feat against the youngster on Wednesday.
He thought he had sealed the match when he twice broke Coric to take a 4-1 advantage only for the teenager to rally back to 6-6 and force a tiebreak.
But with the tiebreak score at 4-4, Baghdatis retired through what appeared to be cramps, meaning that Coric will now take on Andy Murray in the third round.