Del Potro suffers noisy defeat
Juan Martin del Potro (AP)
Sydney - Argentine Juan Martin del Potro complained to the umpire about rowdy crowd behaviour during a 7-6, 6-4 loss to Marcos Baghdatis in the quarter-finals of the Sydney International on Thursday.
A partisan crowd cheered loudly every time Cypriot Baghdatis won a point and top seed Del Potro spoke to official Fergus Murphy for three minutes at the end of the first set.
Del Potro was rattled when the pro-Baghdatis crowd shouted out on set point and Murphy offered to request more security guards to control the situation.
While the crowd remained raucous in the second set, world No 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."
Baghdatis faces Frenchman Julien Benneteau in the semi-finals after he accounted for Russia's Alex Bogomolov Jr 6-2, 6-4. The other men's semi-final on Friday will be between Finland's Jarkko Nieminen and Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin.
Nieminen downed American Bobby Reynolds 6-3, 6-3 and Istomin upset France's world No 18 Richard Gasquet 6-4, 7-6.