This week it will be a truly important moment for tennis. After 14 months of absence from the ATP Tour, Roger Federer will come back on the court for the ATP in Doha, one of the most prestigious events of the first part of the season following the Australian Open and which are a prelude to the Sunshine Double .
But there are other major tournaments this week. Men will pay the ATP tournament in Marseille and the one in Santiago de Chile. Women will play Guadalajara and Dubai. Roger Federer, after the efforts of the second round with Daniel Evans, fails to break down the resistance of Nikoloz Basilashvili, at the Doha ATP event.
He fights with everything that is available, cancels three break points in the heart of the deciding set, in the tenth game he even gets a match point. At the end of the match, it is an empty pass with the service available at 5-5 that cost the match.
He finishes 3-6 6-1 7-5 after just under two hours of play, yes, but it doesn't matter. Federer, who needed to replay, will also be present in Dubai.
ATP Doha: Roger Federer defeated by Basilashvili
For the Georgian tennis player this is obviously the most valuable victory in his career.
Despite some flaws Federer plays a first set of quantity and quality. Basilashvili tries to break through from the baseline without making any particular changes to the tactical plan. Federer, who cancels a break point in the inaugural game, finds at the same time a very good amount of solutions in response and above all in prolonged exchanges.
The Swiss tennis player faces 40-40 in the very first turn of response and delivers the decisive push in the immediately following one, also helped by a double foul by the Georgian (at 40-40) and by a splendid backhand solution in the long line.
The twenty-time Slam champion manages the last two batting rounds in a practically perfect way and pushes himself to 6-3 after just over thirty minutes of play. Basilashvili, always lucid and always precise, still recovers from an almost desperate situation of 0-40 on 2-0 and 0-30 on 3-1.
In what turns out to be the ultimate comeback attempt by the very Swiss champion. The first half of the deciding set goes to the archive without any particular jolts. Federer, who struggles to support lateral movements and especially prolonged exchanges, finds a way to cancel three break points in the seventh game and above all to look at 30-40 in the tenth game.
He also thanks to a nefarious call of hawk-eye by the Georgian on 30-15. Basilashvili clears the match point perfectly draws two winning answers from the cylinder on 5-5 and above all wins the arm wrestling on the left diagonal when the scoreboard is stopped at 15-30. The final game is completely circumstantial, despite Federer's mini-attempt to stop the 40-0.