Roger Federer advanced to the Swiss Indoors quarter-finals on Wednesday, while Andy Murray withdrew injured just before his first-round match.
Federer, defending the title at his hometown event, dropped a set against Jarkko Nieminen of Finland for the first time in their 12 matches but came through 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.
“It was still a good match, I thought, for me to come through,” said Federer, who is playing his tournament since the US Open and served three straight double faults when broken in the second set. “It was due to my ups and downs that he got a chance.”
Murray’s injury left the third-seeded Swiss a clearer path to a possible final against top-ranked Novak Djokovic for a third straight year.
“I never saw [Murray] as a potential opponent anyway because I’m too focused on what I have to do,” Federer said. “I am sure it is somewhat disappointing for the tournament director after going through all the headaches with the wild cards.”
The second-seeded Scot, who requested a late entry last week, cited a right gluteal muscle strain ahead of playing Robin Haase of the Netherlands. Murray had also been scheduled to partner his brother Jamie in an evening doubles match.
Five of the current top-eight men originally lined up in a tough main draw, yet only Federer and Djokovic remain.
Murray followed Mardy Fish of the US in succumbing to injury, and Czech Tomas Berdych was ousted on Tuesday by wild-card entry Kei Nishikori.
Sixth-seeded Janko Tipsarevic, like Fish on Tuesday, retired hurt in his first-round match.
Tipsarevic retired on serve while trailing Florian Mayer of Germany 5-1 in the first set. The Serb will have to reach at least the final in Paris next week if he’s to qualify for the eight-man ATP World Tour Finals in London.
Andy Roddick rode his serve to a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Tommy Haas of Germany. The seventh-seeded American pounded 12 aces and never allowed a break point chance.
Roddick next plays Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic, who won 6-1, 6-3 against Santiago Giraldo of Colombia.
Murray’s place in the singles draw was taken by lucky loser Marco Chiudinelli, a childhood friend of Federer, who lost 6-2, 7-6 (7) to Haase.
In a first-round match between two qualifiers, Lukasz Kubot of Poland beat Tobias Kamke of Germany, 5-7, 7-5, 6-2. The 61st-ranked Kubot will face Djokovic in the second round on Thursday.
Marcos Baghdatis advanced to the quarterfinals by defeating 327th-ranked Swiss qualifier Michael Lammer 7-6 (2), 6-7 (2), 6-3.
The Cypriot is a likely crowd pleasing matchup for Djokovic today.