| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo credit: Kenneth B. Goldberg

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 He would have gone up against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, however, he has withdrawn from the tournament citing a back injury.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 This marks the second time in his entire career that Federer has withdrawn from a tournament due to an injury.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."