Australian Nick Kyrgios was set to meet the great Roger Federer in a quarterfinal match Friday at the BNP Paribas Open, but the 21-year-old rising star announced just hours before the match that he would have to withdraw “due to sickness.”
Kyrgios, the 15th seed at Indian Wells, had dispatched No. 2 Novak Djokovic in the fourth round, his second-straight win over the 11-time Grand Slam champion. He had played Federer only once before, beating him in an epic three-set match in Madrid in 2015.
The match was much anticipated in the tennis world, with a rejuvenated, 35-year-old Federer facing one of the brighter stars for the future of the game. It’s a big loss for the tournament.
It’s also a huge break for Federer, who gets a free pass to the semifinals without having to spend an hour or more playing tennis in the 90-degree desert heat. He will face either American Jack Sock or No. 4 seed Kei Nishikori on Saturday. Federer sent along his well wishes to Kyrgios: