Federer skips Dubai tournament after Basilashvili loss at Qatar Open

Nikoloz Basilashvili beat Roger Federer in three sets to advance to the semi-final at the Qatar Open.
Nikoloz Basilashvili beat Roger Federer in three sets to advance to the semi-final at the Qatar Open. REUTERS - Cathrin Mueller

Former world number one Roger Federer on Friday pulled out of next week’s Dubai Duty Free Championships. He says he wants to focus on his training.


The 39-year-old Swiss withdrew from the tournament a day after losing to Nikoloz Basilashvili in the quarter-final of the Qatar Open in Doha.

After claiming the first set, Federer was blitzed in the second. Basilashvili waltzed through it 6-1.

In a more even deciding set, Federer held a match point when 5-4 up. 

However, Basilashvili held firm and levelled at 5-5. The 29-year-old Georgian claimed Federer’s serve to lead 6-5 and served out for his first win against the 20-time Grand Slam tournament champion.

Focus on training

“It's been great to be back on the @atptour , loved every minute playing in Doha once again,” said Federer on social media. 

"I have decided that it is better for me to return to training and therefore, I have decided to withdraw from the Dubai tournament next week.”

Federer had not played on the circuit since a straight sets defeat to Novak Djokovic in the semi-final at the Australian Open in 2020.


He beat Daniel Evans in three sets in the last-16 on Wednesday but ran out of gas against Basilashvili who lost their last encounter in straight sets in the first round of the 2016 Australian Open.

“He is one of the greatest of all time,” Basilashvili said after his victory in an on-court interview.

“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.”

While Federer nurses his ego and his body, Basilashvili will play Taylor Fritz on Friday for a place in the final.

Roberto Bautista Agut, who saw off top seed Dominic Thiem, and Andrey Rublev, winner of the Rotterdam tournament last Sunday, will contest the other semi-final.

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