Roger Federer’s US Open preparations could be in danger after the 17-time Grand Slam winner was beaten in his opening match at the Swiss Open while playing with back pain.
The top seed, who was attending the small claycourt event for the first time since winning it nine years ago, was also dealing with the added stress of testing a new larger racket, coping with his physical limitations and facing a big hitter in Daniel Brands.
The German produced a 6-3, 6-4 win to make the quarter-finals, coming good after taking the Swiss star to three sets in Hamburg last week.
Federer, 31, who has been troubled occasionally in a relatively injury-free career by back spasms, said that he has been dealing with them for a few weeks now.
He hinted that he will be taking a late decision on whether or not to play the Montreal Masters, which begins on Aug. 5.
“I’ve had serious problems with the back, I had to get some anti-inflammatories last week in Hamburg due to the pain,” he said after Thursday’s loss, his third of the summer against an opponent ranked outside the top 50.
Federer is currently ranked fifth in the world, his lowest level in a decade after going out in the Wimbledon second round to Sergiy Stakhovsky and then losing last week in the Hamburg semi-finals to Argentine qualifier Federico Delbonis.
AFP, ATLANTA, Georgia
Top seeded John Isner edged wild card Christian Harrison 7-6 (11/9), 4-6, 7-5 on Thursday to book a quarter-final berth at the ATP Atlanta Open.
Isner fired 29 aces but needed two hours and 24 minutes to get past the tenacious 19-year-old, whose elder brother Ryan Harrison booked a quarter-final berth earlier in the day.
Ryan Harrison reached the last eight with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over fourth-seeded Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands.
He will play Colombian Santiago Giraldo who was leading Michael Russell 5-7, 6-3, 3-0 when the American retired from their match.
Isner will play compatriot James Blake, who beat Russian Evgeny Donskoy 6-3, 6-2.
In other second-round matches, Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin defeated fifth seed Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan 7-5, 6-2.
Istomin will play second-seeded South African Kevin Anderson, who beat Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden 6-7 (7/9), 6-2, 6-2.
Lleyton Hewitt will play Ivan Dodig in the remaining quarter-final.
AP, UMAG, Croatia
Andreas Seppi of Italy advanced to the quarter-finals of the Croatia Open on Thursday, after leading Andreas Haider-Mauer 6-1, 4-0 before the Austrian retired through injury.
Haider-Mauer started well, winning the opening game, but then lost 10 games in a row. He sought medical treatment for a lower back injury after the first set and then retired in the second.
It will be Seppi’s fourth appearance in the quarter-finals at Umag in as many years. He improved his record to 9-3, with his best results being the semi-finals in 2009 and 2010.
Horacio Zeballos from Argentina also advanced after rallying to defeat eighth-seeded countryman Carlos Berlocq 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Aljaz Bedene from Slovenia defeated fourth-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3, 6-1, while Spaniard Tommy Robredo defeated Viktor Toricki of Serbia 6-0, 6-4.