Stan Wawrinka was forced to withdraw from yesterday’s Basel quarter-final showdown against best friend Roger Federer with a back injury, just an hour after struggling past Frances Tiafoe of the US in a grueling second-round clash.
“The bad news is that I will have to retire,” the 34-year-old three-time Grand Slam winner said after his 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 win. “I had some trouble with my back in the last game. I’m sure I cannot make it for tomorrow [Friday]. I will pull out.”
Top seed Federer, chasing a 10th title at his hometown event, is to receive a walkover into today’s semi-finals.
It would have been the 27th meeting between the two Swiss teammates and Federer would have been the comfortable favorite boasting a 23-3 record over their 14-year rivalry.
Wawrinka stands in provisional 14th place in the points race to the year-end ATP Finals and his chances of qualifying now look slim with just next week’s Paris Masters to play on the regular schedule.
Wawrinka’s two-and-a-half-hour struggle against Tiafoe was decided by an 11-minute concluding game and put Wawrinka into his fifth quarter-final at the Swiss tournament.
“I was fighting well. He was playing well. I expected a tough match,” Wawrinka said.
Wawrinka hammered 14 aces — his last two in the penultimate game.
Tiafoe saved a Wawrinka match point with an ace of his own in the final game before the home favorite got the crowd on its feet with a backhand winner down the line to seal the success.
Both players hugged at the net, with Tiafoe receiving a standing ovation from the 9,000-strong crowd.
Stefanos Tsitsipas reached his 13th quarter-final of the year when he came back to claim a 6-7 (4/7), 6-2, 6-4 win over Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis.
The Greek third seed next faces Filip Krajinovic of Serbia, who upset fifth seed Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-4.
The ATP Finals’ hopes of David Goffin stalled as the sixth seed lost to Reilly Opelka 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/4), 7-5, with the young American sending down 29 aces in two-and-a-half hours.
Goffin stands provisional 10th in the race to the eight-man season wrap-up with a final points-earning chance next week in Paris.
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Federer, Daniil Medvedev, Dominic Thiem and Tsitsipas have already booked their places in the ATP Finals, leaving just two places available.
Roberto Bautista Agut, who sits one spot away from a London invitation, stayed in the chase as he defeated France’s Richard Gasquet 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 and next faces Opelka.
The Spaniard claimed his 40th victory of the season as he works to become a first-time qualifier into the season showpiece in London, which starts on Nov. 10.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017