Nick Kyrgios withdraws from anticipated Indian Wells clash with Roger Federer

INDIAN WELLS, CA - MARCH 12:  Nick Kyrgios of Australia walks back to serve against Horacio Zeballos of Argentia in their second round match during day seven of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 12, 2017 in Indian Wells, California.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

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: