Georgian tennis player Nikoloz Basilashvili was absolutely thrilled after surprising record 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha. Basilashvili, ranked at No. 42 in the world, recovered from a set down to beat Federer 3-6 6-1 7-5 and reach the Doha semifinal.
Federer earned the first break of the match in the fourth game, before saving two break points in the following game. Federer routinely served out for the opener in the ninth game as he realized his second set point. After losing the first set, Basilashvili broke Federer twice in the second set to force a decider.
Basilashvili saved a match point in the 10th game of the third set, before earning the key break in the 11th game. Basilashvili realized his third match point in the 12th game to complete a comeback win. "It is unbelievable.
He is one of the greatest of all time,” Basilashvili said in an on-court interview, per the ATP website. “To just play him means so much to me. I am really happy that he came back and is playing again. To win against him is a dream come true for me.
He was always my idol and I am sure he is to many tennis players and fans. He is an unbelievable player, so I am extremely happy”.
Federer quickly got over the Basilashvili loss
"This one is super easy. I’m already over it,’ said Federer, who was playing his first tournament in 14 months.
"I mean, I would have loved to play tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong, you know "But at the same time I’m also happy to get a rest. I’m happy how I played today. I’m happy how I did yesterday. ‘’m happy I was back on the tour.
I’m pleased I came here to Doha. So it’s really, really a positive return for me. I’m really happy."