Roger Federer had reached the semifinals of the Qatar Open, after his winning streak was extended to 20 straight matches. He defeated Andreas Seppi of Italy in three sets, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. He would have gone up against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, however, he has withdrawn from the tournament citing a back injury.
Tsonga is now sixth-ranked and defeated Albert Ramos of Spain, 6-2, 6-1, to advance to what would have been a semifinal meeting against Federer. Federer says that he pulled out due to a muscle spasm of the back and expects to be recovered in time for the Australian Open.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion says his back has not improved as he hoped since he defeated Seppi in three sets. Federer was apologetic to the event's organizers; however, he did not want to take any major risks with the Australian Open just weeks away. This marks the second time in his entire career that Federer has withdrawn from a tournament due to an injury.
"I don't feel a whole lot of improvement for today, and I just don't think it's the right time to risk anything more right now," said Federer. "I still have pain, and that's why it was the only right decision, a difficult one for me ... so it's a sad moment for me and for the tournament and for the fans, but health comes first."