By Andreas Vou
Marcos Baghdatis is through to the second round of The Indian Wells Masters after his opponent, Jiri Vesely, retired early in the second set and will now face top seed Novak Djokovic in the second round.
The Cypriot star began brightly against the young Czech player who was evidently suffering at various points throughout the early exchanges. Baghdatis took the first set 6-3 which was when Vesely took his first medical timeout.
The 21-year-old was said to be suffering from the flu prior to the match and was seen coughing and pointing to his glands upon completion of the first set. Then, after just two games had been equally shared at the start of the second set, Vesely indicated that he could no longer continue, thus handing Baghdatis passage to the second round of the tournament.
It was the third ever meeting between Baghdatis and Vesely and the Cypriot has come out on top in each of them, including a first round three-sets win in Delray Beach last year.
Now ranked world no.61, Baghdatis faces an almighty challenge against Djokovic whom he has faced seven times and is yet to defeat the Serbian. The last time the two met was in late 2012 in the Miami Masters when Baghdatis made a positive display but eventually lost out 6-4, 6-4.
It was Baghdatis who retired in rather strange fashion in his last appearance. Against 18-year-old Borna Coric in the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship late last month, after spurning two golden chances to seal the game in the final set, Baghdatis threw in the towel with just a few points left to play for due to suspected cramps.
This is Baghdatis’ eighth trip to Southern California to take part in the Indian Wells, a place where he played some of the best tennis of his career in years gone by. One of the most famous wins of his career took place in this tournament back in 2010 when he defeated Roger Federer.
With his latest victory over Vesely, his overall record in the tournament now stands at 9-7, while his best run in the competition was when he reached the quarter-final stage in 2006.