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Basel tennis tournament loses top seed Norman

Norman picked up a back injury along with the title in Shanghai Keystone

Sweden's Magnus Norman has been forced to pull out of the Basel Indoors tennis tournament, leaving Switzerland's biggest annual sporting event without its top seed.

Norman picked up his fifth title of the season on Monday when he won the hard court tournament in Shanghai. But the win came at a price with the world number four aggravating a back injury.

His subsequent decision to withdraw leaves the Basel tournament with just three of the world’s top ten players. Norman’s compatriot Thomas Enqvist (ATP 6) is now the man to beat, while Australian teenager Lleyton Hewitt (ATP 9) and Britain’s Tim Henman (ATP 10) will also fancy their chances.

Norman’s no-show may have at least raised hopes of a Swiss winner. Local hero Roger Federer’s potential path to the final was likely to have included a meeting with Norman in the tournament’s second round.

If Federer can beat Germany’s Tommy Haas in Tuesday’s first round match, he will instead face a less daunting challenge from the winner of the game between Romania’s Andrei Pavel and Norman’s late replacement Stéphane Huet of France.

Michel Kratochvil and George Bastl are the other two Swiss players entered in the one million dollar tournament.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR