Swiss star Stan Wawrinka withdrew from this month’s ATP Masters events in Indian Wells and Miami on Thursday, saying he needed more time to recuperate as he works his way back from knee surgery.
The 32-year-old world number 12 sat out the second half of 2017 after a knee operation following a first-round exit at Wimbledon in June.
The Swiss ace spent eight weeks on crutches following surgery to repair the damage.
He returned this year but has struggled and was forced to withdraw during a second round match in Marseille last month against world number 193 Ilya Ivashka of Belarus.
Wawrinka said Tuesday he hoped skipping the hard court tournaments of Indian Wells and Miami would enable him to return refreshed for the clay court season.
“Unfortunately I need to announce that I won’t be able to play in Indian Wells and Miami,” Wawrinka said in a statement.
“They are both amazing events but coming back from a big surgery is complicated and after having played a few tournaments I have discussed with my team that it is best for me to build on the progress and go back to practice.
“I’ve enjoyed being back on tour playing matches and this gives me even more motivation to go back on the practice court.
My goal is to find my highest level again and in order to do that I will keep working hard every single day.”
Wawrinka, the 2015 French Open champion, said he was targeting the clay court season.
“I need to be patient and give my body the time it needs, but as of now my goal is to come back on clay,” he said.
“I love that part of the season and hope to be ready by then.”
Jaziri was under pressure to follow up his sensational win over world No4 Grigor Dimitrov and rose magnificently to the occasion, fighting off all eight break points he faced and controlling both tiebreaks.
“Everyone was waiting for me after beating the number one seed,” said Jaziri. “Everyone was waiting (for me) to go as far as possible. Everyone is pushing (me) to play good, you know, to make bigger results.
“I think it was important to keep calm, only play tennis, enjoy the game, that was the most important, fight for all the points. I think I played really good on the really important points today, the breakpoints and tiebreak. At the beginning of the tiebreak, I put much pressure, more winners on important points. I was really offensive. My serve helped me today in the really important points.”
Second crowd favourite Marcos Baghdatis, meanwhile, was beaten 7-6 (2) 6-4 by seventh seed Filip Krajinovic.
Baghdatis held nine break points but converted just one, and that cost him dearly against an opponent who played well under pressure. He held one that would have left him serving for a 4-0 lead in the first set, another to break for 6-5 and serve for the opening set and four more that would have given him a 2-0 lead in the second. He claimed none of those, and dropping his own serve to love at 4-4 in the second set sealed his fate.
“It was a tough match. I faced a lot of breakpoints. I think I played really aggressive on that ones,” said Krajinovic. “I think I play aggressive when I needed. I served well when I needed. That was the key. I stay with him. Yeah, it was a patient game. I’m really happy to play in quarter-final. Beating Baghdatis for me is good win. He likes to play here. He’s played in the semis and final before.”
Lucas Pouille has once again spoken against the ITF’s plans to overhaul the Davis Cup saying the changes are focused on the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal who won’t be around much longer in the game.
Pouille, who avenged his Marseille final defeat to Karen Khachanov last Sunday by ousting the Russian in the Dubai second round on Wednesday, had said after his first round that the proposed changes would be a “death sentence” to the Davis cup.
On Wednesday, the Frenchman expanded on his thoughts on the matter saying: “If we make the final France-Belgium last year in Singapore, there would have been maybe 4,000 people. In France it was 27,000. It’s definitely different.
“Roger and Rafa are not going to play forever. We don’t have to think about only them, like what do we need to do for them to play. They’re not going to stay here for the next 15 years. I’m not sure this is the right way to do.”
Pouille added that his fellow French Davis Cup players share his views.
“I think they think the same as me, like I think a lot of players. I did not say it was not good for tennis, I just say it’s not good for Davis Cup. It’s a particular competition. I think we just need to find another way to make it better,” said the world No. 15, who next faces Yuichi Sugita in the Dubai quarter-finals on Thursday.
“I know it’s not the perfect way right now, but I definitely don’t think it’s going to be good with what they propose.”
Pouille was facing Khachanov for the second time in four days and managed to gain swift revenge against the Marseille champion thanks to a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 triumph on Wednesday.
“I knew it will be a tough one. In final in Marseille, he won just three points more than me. I knew it was very close. I had to play some good tennis,” said Pouille.
“We were both I think a little bit tired. So, no, I’m just very happy that I get my revenge today.”
Pouille has won nine of his last 11 matches having captured the title in Montpellier at the start of February, before reaching the final in Marseille and now advancing to the Dubai quarter-finals.
“As long as you win, you get some confidence. It’s better this way. I prefer to win a lot of matches, play a lot, than playing once a week. It’s good,” said the 24-year-old Dubai resident.
“I’m starting to feel better and better here. Hopefully tomorrow I can be 100 per cent. But I know it’s going to be difficult. No, I’m very happy with this month of February so far.”
Meanwhile, former Dubai semi-finalist Borna Coric booked himself a spot in the last-eight with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Benoit Paire. The young Croat next faces No. 3 seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who overcame Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-1.