Kratochvil crushed

Michel Kratochvil had trouble keeping his eye on the ball against Tim Henman Keystone

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.

This content was published on October 26, 2001 - 22:44

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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