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Roger Federer Falls to Basilashvili, Fritz Through to Qatar Open Semifinals

By Ricky Dimon

The end of Roger Federer’s comeback tournament has ended after two matches.

Federer, who made an encouraging return to tennis by beating Dan Evans in a high-quality three-setter on Wednesday at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, lost to Nikoloz Basilashvili 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 during quarterfinal action on Thursday evening. The 39-year-old had a match point late in the third set but could not convert and ended up succumbing after one hour and 50 minutes.

“I’m happy with how I played today,” said Federer, whose Doha appearance marked his first time on tour since the 2020 Australian Open. “I’m happy with how I did yesterday. I’m happy I am back on the tour; I’m pleased I came here to Doha. So it’s a really, really positive return for me.”

“It is unbelievable,” Basilashvili assured. “He is one of the greatest of all time. To just play him means so much to me. I am really happy that he came back and is playing again. To win against him is a dream come true for me. He was always my idol and I am sure he is to many tennis players and fans. He is an unbelievable player, so I am extremely happy.”

Next up for the Georgian is Taylor Fritz, who punched his ticket to the last four by beating Lorenzo Sonego, David Goffin, and Denis Shapovalov. Against Goffin the world No. 33 saved three match points and his victory over Shapovalov avenged a heartbreaking five-set loss at the 2020 U.S. Open.

Basilashvili will face American Taylor Fritz.

The other semifinal pits Andrey Rublev against Roberto Bautista Agut. Rublev has become the first man in ATP Tour history to reach the semifinals of a tournament without playing a single match. The Russian earned a first-round bye as the No. 3 seed and then got walkovers from both Richard Gasquet and Marton Fucsovics. It could not have come at a better time, too, because Rublev would have been making a quick turnaround after capturing the Rotterdam title this past weekend.

Bautista Agut advanced on Thursday by upsetting No. 1 seed Dominic Thiem in a tight three-setter.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.