Michel Kratochvil saw his Basel dream ripped to tatters on Friday with British world number eight Tim Henman demolishing the Swiss number two 6-0, 6-1.
Pouncing to the net at every opportunity, the Englishman made astonishingly short work of Kratochvil, allowing the Swiss to take a mere four points during an opening set annihilation.
After faring only slightly better in the second set, Kratochvil found himself serving only to prolong his misery at 1-5. Having missed his first serve at break point, the Swiss number two then committed a bizarre form of hari-kari, deliberately double faulting on his second serve to leave the Basel crowd mystified.
A possible explanation came within half an hour, when Kratochvil failed to appear at his press conference with a statement being issued through the ATP instead.
"I felt totally dizzy and almost fell over on the court," the 22-year-old from Bern said in the statement. "He (Henman) almost hit me with his serves in the beginning of the match. I didn't even know what the score was but I didn't want to retire in front of my home crowd."
Kratochvil added that tournament doctors had diagnosed a probable virus infection. Whatever the cause, it was a sad end to a promising week for the young Swiss star.
by Mark Ledsom, Basel
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