Roger Federer lost his first career set to Jarkko Nieminen but in the end fended off the Finn with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 victory in front of his home fans in Basel.
“He was obviously finding his range better, playing a bit better and getting better rhythm as the match went on since he’s a baseliner,” said Federer who has won 24 of 25 sets against Nieminen and 12 matches. “It was due to my ups and downs that he found a chance in the second set, but then I found my range again on the serve in the third set and was basically in control. It was still a good match, I thought, for me to come through and I had some very good moments. All in all I’m pretty pleased.”
Federer will have to sharpen his game as Andy Roddick could await in his Friday quarterfinal with a possible final battle with top seed Novak Djokovic on Sunday.
The good news for the Swiss is that potential semifinal opponent Andy Murray withdrew from his first round match against Robin Haase.
According to Murray, he somehow pulled a muscle in his ass while sleeping.
“I woke up yesterday and was really struggling to walk,” said Murray who official withdrew with a right gluteal strain. “I went to a swimming pool nearby and did some exercises and it felt a little better, but I was forced to cancel my practise yesterday. It is just a freak thing and I have no idea how I did it.”
Let the jokes fly…
Janko Tipsarevic also suffered an ailment pulling a hamstring in a loss to Florian Mayer. The injury really hurts the Serb’s chances to finish Top 10 and pass the also-injured Fish for London.
Also, Andy Roddick, breezed past veteran Tommy Haas 6-3, 6-4. The match was Roddick’s first since the shock death of his agent, Ken Meyerson, two weeks ago. Andy wore a “Kenny” patch on his left sleeve in memory of his agent.
In Valencia, Marin Cilic stayed hot cruising past Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-4. The Croat has won 12 of his last 14 matches.
David Ferrer, Juan Martin Del Potro and Gael Monfils were also winners.
Highlights tomorrow include Djokovic and Roddick in Basel and in Valencia there are a couple good matches with Del Potro against Kevin Anderson and Sam Querrey v. JW Tsonga.
Basel will be shown live all day on the Tennis Channel starting at 9am ET.
A quick doubles note, congratulations to the Bryan Brothers who clinched the year-end No. 1 team doubles ranking for the seventh time in the last nine. What an incredible run for the 33-year-old, 11-time Grand Slam champion twins.
And lastly, if Murray’s banged-up bum wasn’t enough wackiness, TMZ posted this incredible story today of Serena Williams locking herself in a “Panic Room” when intruders showed up at her doorstep early morning last week. Except, those intruders turned out to be official ITF drug testers. Amazing. People really have panic room’s? I thought only Jodi Foster had one!
THURSDAY BASEL SCHEDULE
CENTER COURT start 14:00
[WC] K Nishikori (JPN) vs A Seppi (ITA)
Not Before 16:00
 N Djokovic (SRB) vs [Q] L Kubot (POL)
Not Before 18:00
 A Roddick (USA) vs R Stepanek (CZE)
Not Before 20:00
S Wawrinka (SUI) vs R Haase (NED)
THURSDAY VALENCIA SCHEDULE
AGORA start 1:00 pm
S Querrey (USA) vs  J Tsonga (FRA)
M Granollers (ESP) vs M Cilic (CRO)
J Ferrero (ESP) vs A Bogomolov Jr. (USA)
Not Before 8:00 PM
 J del Potro (ARG) vs K Anderson (RSA)
[WC] D Gimeno-Traver (ESP) / P Riba (ESP) vs E Butorac (USA) / J Rojer (AHO)
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