Stan Wawrinka has been forced to withdraw from the Swiss Indoors in Basel, handing nine-time champion Roger Federer a walkover into the semi-finals.
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Wawrinka emerged triumphant in a gruelling three-set second round showdown against Frances Tiafoe on Thursday night, edging the young American by a 6-3 3-6 7-5 scoreline in two hours and 32 minutes.
Stan Wawrinka (PA Images)
However, Wawrinka injured his back in the final game of the match, and subsequently announced his withdrawal from the tournament during his press conference.
“The bad news is that I will have to retire,” the three-time major champion said.
“I had some trouble with my back in the last game. I’m sure I cannot make it for tomorrow (Friday). I will pull out.”
Wawrinka was in with an outside chance of qualifying for the ATP Finals in London after making the U.S. Open quarter-finals and Antwerp final in his last two tournaments, but his chances are all but over now.
The 34-year-old toiled away for 11 minutes in the concluding game against Tiafoe before finally putting away the enigmatic American.
“I was fighting well, he was playing well, I expected a tough match,” Wawrinka said.
Wawrinka’s withdrawal denies Swiss fans a dream quarter-final against Federer, who is gunning for a record 10th Basel title this week.
Federer has been dominant in his first two matches this week, crushing Peter Gojowczyk 6-2 6-1 and Radu Albot 6-0 6-3.
The 38-year-old has a 73-9 record in Basel and has won his last 22 matches at the tournament.
“Maybe I was feeling some pressure [in my first appearances] and it was, in some ways, the hardest to play in front of friends and family in Basel, but not in the past 17 years,” Federer said. “I’ve really enjoyed every moment and always tried to understand how I should take advantage of playing at home.”
Federer will take on the winner of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Filip Krajinovic in Saturday’s semi-finals.
Wawrinka withdraws from Basel after three-set win over Tiafoe; Federer receives walkover into semi-finals
Stan Wawrinka has been forced to withdraw from the Swiss Indoors in Basel, handing nine-time champion Roger Federer a walkover…
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