Roger Federer failed to convert a match point before losing 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 to Nikoloz Basilashvili in the Qatar Open quarterfinals on Thursday, his second match back on tour after a 13-month injury layoff.
Basilashvili saved a match point at 5-4 in the deciding set and then broke Federer’s serve in the next game.
It was a second straight grueling three-setter for Federer after his win Wednesday over Dan Evans took nearly 2 1/2 hours. The 39-year-old Federer was playing in his first tournament since the 2020 Australian Open following knee surgery.
Until next time, Roger.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) March 11, 2021
Basilashvili has now won three consecutive tour matches for the first time since 2019. His semifinal opponent will be Taylor Fritz after the American upset fourth-seeded Canadian Denis Shapovalov 5-7, 6-3, 7-5.
For the first time in the 31-year history of the ATP Tour, a player reached the semifinals without hitting a ball after getting his second walkover in a row.
Russia’s Andrey Rublev benefited from a first-round bye, before Richard Gasquet withdrew ahead of their second-round match. Marton Fucsovics then withdrew from their quarterfinal Thursday with a lower back injury.
Rublev will face either top-seeded Dominic Thiem or fifth-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut for a place in Saturday’s final.