Roger Federer’s comeback from injury ended in the quarter-finals of the Qatar Open after he was beaten in three sets by Nikoloz Basilashvili.
On Wednesday, Federer, 39, overcame Britain’s Dan Evans on his return to court after 14 months out with a knee problem. However the 20-times grand slam champion was unable to secure a second win in as many days as Georgia’s Basilashvili completed a 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 victory.
Basilashvili, ranked No 42 in the world, saved a match point against a weary-looking Federer in the 10th game of the deciding set, before breaking his Swiss opponent in the ensuing game, and seeing out the match in one hour and 50 minutes.
“It is unbelievable because he is one of the greatest of all time,” Basilashvili, 29, said following his last-eight triumph. “To play him means so much to me. I am very happy he came back to play, and to win against him is a dream come true. He was always my idol, and I am sure he is to many tennis players and fans, so I am unbelievably happy.”
Basilashvili will play Taylor Fritz for a place in the final in Doha following the American’s 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 win against Denis Shapovalov.
“I’m happy I am back on the tour,” Federer told the ATP website. “I’m pleased I came here to Doha. So it’s really, really a positive return for me. I’m really happy. I come from so far away that I’m actually happy that I was able to play back-to-back three-set matches against top players. That’s an important step forward to me.”
Andrey Rublev became the first player in ATP history to receive back-to-back walkovers as he reached the semi-finals without hitting a ball. Richard Gasquet withdrew from his second-round clash against the Russian following a leg injury before Marton Fucsovics was forced to pull out of their last-eight meeting with a back problem.
Rublev will face Roberto Bautista Agut after the Spaniard knocked out top seed Dominic Thiem 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-4.