Tennis

Roger Federer verdict delivered by Nikoloz Basilashvili after Qatar Open win

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Nikoloz Basilashvili recorded a memorable victory as he knocked 20-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer out of the Qatar Open this evening. The Georgian came from a set down to secure a 3-6 6-1 7-5 win which sets up a semi-final showdown with Taylor Fritz.

Federer has spent the last 12 months recovering from knee surgery and he is aiming to peak at Wimbledon.

The Swiss star saw of British No 1 Dan Evans in his opening match in Doha but he fell at the second hurdle.

It could take a few more tournaments before the 39-year-old begins to find his feet and Basilashvili is happy that the legend is still competing.

“It’s unbelievable, he is one of the greatest of all time in tennis,” Basilashvili said.

“To just play him means so much for me, I’m very happy he came back and (is) playing again.

“For sure, to win against him is a dream come true for me. He was always my idol and I’m sure (he is) to many tennis players and fans.

“He’s an unbelievable player, so I’m extremely happy. He is on court, (the) best player of all time in my opinion, and off court he’s (an) unbelievable person.”

Meanwhile, Federer was not disheartened about being knocked out of the ATP 250 tournament early.

“Like I said, I’m not at 100 percent yet. I can feel it, I can see it. I’m still building up,” he explained.

“This is a stepping stone. I’m actually happy with how I felt on court overall. I felt better against Dan [Evans] physically, naturally.

“I honestly expected to feel this way. The whole shoulder, I feel the muscle pain around that.

“I didn’t expect that, I’d been serving the whole time but I think that comes with the pressure. In matches you just go that extra 5 per cent.

“Overall, the body is actually fine. I’m happy. I felt fine, a little stiff in the morning but that’s totally normal, I think.”

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Federer is set to return to Dubai for some warm weather training before deciding his plan ahead of the clay-court season.

Wimbledon and the Olympic Games are Federer’s two priority events this year.

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