The last match between Roger Federer and Nikoloz Basilashvili ended with a clear 6-2 6-1 6-2 in favor of the Swiss. On that occasion, the two faced off in the first round of the 2016 Australian Open, under completely different circumstances.
A lot has changed since that game, as Federer has had to deal with some serious knee problems and go through more than one operation. After more than a year of inactivity, the 20-time Grand Slam champion returned to play an official match at the ATP 250 tournament in Doha and defeated an excellent Daniel Evans in three sets.
In the quarter-finals, however, fatigue made itself felt and Federer was unable to give his all in the most important moments of the match. This time it was the Georgian who won, who did not tremble and won the semi-finals of the Qatar event.
Federer also wasted a match point in the tenth game of the third set, but his opponent practically didn't allow him to score by playing a great serve and a very clever forehand.
"It's incredible. Federer is one of the best tennis players of all time," explained an excited Basilashvili at the end of the match.
"Playing against him means a lot to me. I am really happy that Roger is back and that he is playing again.
Winning against him is a dream come true for me. He has always been my idol and I'm sure the same goes for many other tennis players and fans.
He is truly an incredible player, so I am extremely happy to have won and to have played well." Federer, for his part, said he was very happy with his performance and in general with his first post-injury performances.
"I am happy with my performance today. I am happy with the victory obtained yesterday," said Federer. "I'm happy to be back to play on the circuit. I'm happy to have come here to Doha. So it's really, really a positive return for me.
I'm really happy."
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.
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.