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Beyond the Baseline

An ATP first: Semifinals hit with two walkovers on a rough day at Sony Open

A pair of semifinal withdrawals means Novak Djokovic will once again lock horns with Rafael Nadal. (Lynne Sladky/AP) A pair of semifinal withdrawals means Novak Djokovic will once again lock horns with Rafael Nadal. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

Spare a thought for the ticket-toting fans at the Sony Open on Friday. The tournament was hit with an unprecedented pair of withdrawals in the men's semifinals, which gave No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Novak Djokovic walkovers into Sunday's final.

The day began with news that Kei Nishikori, on the heels of two top-five wins over Roger Federer and David Ferrer, was forced to withdraw from his semifinal against Djokovic with a left groin injury. The news stung even more given Nishikori's fantastic effort to oust Federer in the quarterfinals, coming back from a set and break down to win 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 to advance to his first ATP Masters 1000 semifinal since the 2011 Shanghai Masters. It also recalled the long-running joke about "The Federer Curse":

As fans waited for the second semifinal of the day to begin between Nadal and No. 7 Tomas Berdych, the ATP announced Berdych was also ruled out due to gastroenteritis, marking the first time in ATP history that both semifinals resulted in walkovers at a tour-level event. Boos rang out at Crandon Park when the second withdrawal announcement was made and ESPN scrambled to fill air time with extended interviews with Nadal and Djokovic.

While all that was happening, Twitter exploded with shock, frustration, and humor. Read a collection of some of the best tweets below:









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