Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer has withdrawn from a tournament after seeing his comeback event end prematurely at the Qatar Open, squandering a set lead and a match point to lose against Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili.
Taking part in his first tournament in 14 months, the 39-year-old lost his quarter-final match to the world number 42 6-3, 1-6, 5-7 in one hour and 50 minutes.
Basilashvili turned out to be a resiliently tough opponent for Federer, saving seven out of 10 break points, including a match point at 4-5 in the decisive set.
Federer’s unexpected loss was not the only upset for his devoted fans, as the two-time Grand Slam winner swiftly announced his withdrawal from next week’s ATP 500 event in Dubai.
It’s been great to be back on the @atptour , loved every minute playing in Doha once again. 🙌🏼A big thank you to the best and loyal team that helped me get here. 🙏🏼I’ve decided it’s best to go back to training and as a result, I’ve decided to withdraw from Dubai next week. 🏋🏽 pic.twitter.com/zp65Jt832n
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) March 11, 2021
“It’s been great to be back on the ATP Tour,” the beloved veteran wrote on Twitter. “I loved every minute playing in Doha once again.
“A big thank you to the best and loyal team that helped me get here. I’ve decided it’s best to go back to training and, as a result, I’ve decided to withdraw from Dubai next week.”
Elsewhere in Doha, Russian stars Andrey Rublev and Aslan Karatsev reached the doubles final by beating Frenchmen Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin.
The in-form duo recovered from 4-1 down in the second set and saved two set points at 5-4 to clinch a 7-6, 7-6 victory.
They will face Marcus Daniell and Philipp Oswald in the final, who sent home top-seeded Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 6-3, 6-4 in their semi-final match.