Rising Italian star Lorenzo Musetti, 18, drew positives from his Sardinia campaign after exiting the event in the semifinal.
Musetti, ranked at No. 143 in the world, received a wildcard for the Sardinia main draw and ended up making the semifinal.
Musetti was a set away from making the Sardinia final but eventually fell short in his attempt as he was forced to retire his semifinal clash to Serb Laslo Djere.
Djere, ranked at No. 74 in the world, led 2-6 6-2 4-1 when the Italian called it a match due to an elbow injury.
At 2-1 in the third set, Musetti pulled out of his service motion after starting to feel the pain in the right elbow.
Djere then pressured Musetti in his service game and broke the Italian.
Musetti received a medical timeout at the changeover after the fifth game but retired the match after losing the opening point of the sixth game.
Musetti was aiming to write history
Musetti, who made the Rome Masters round-of-16 as a qualifier after beating Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori, was aiming to become the youngest Italian in the Open Era to reach an ATP Tour final
"There was one month of tournaments at ATP level with a lot of Top 100 players," Musetti said after the match, per the ATP website. "I think I did an amazing job and now I will take a rest and see what is happening with the elbow… I am going to rest a bit because I am a little bit tired after playing a lot of matches in a row."
Musetti broke Djere in the opening game of the match and then sealed the first set after breaking the Serb in the seventh game.
"I knew that he was playing really well, had a lot of confidence and had some great results in the past few weeks, but I didn’t expect the high level that he played in the first set," Djere said. "It surprised me a bit and I didn’t have the answer."
In the second set, Djere lost one of his service games but claimed three breaks to force a decider — which Musetti wasn't able to finish.
"I managed to stay focussed and fought back in the second set, which I am really happy about," Djere added. "My level was higher in the second set, [as was] my intensity. I changed tactics a little bit and I was more focussed on my serve.”
Djere is set to meet Italian Marco Cecchinato in the Sardinia final.