DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Stan Wawrinka will play for his second title of the year when he faces Marcos Baghdatis in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships.
Wawrinka advanced when Nick Kyrgios retired with a back injury while trailing 6-4, 3-0 in the semifinals on Friday.
The Swiss player will meet the unseeded Baghdatis, who came from a set down to beat sixth-seeded Feliciano Lopez 3-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-1.
“He’s an unbelievable player,” Baghdatis said of Wawrinka, who won his third straight Chennai Open title last month. “I think he has a better percentage of winning tomorrow, that’s for sure. He’s having his best years of his life. Winning two Grand Slams, that’s amazing.”
For the second day in a row, Kyrgios received treatment on his back during a match. On Friday, the physiotherapist came to the court during the seventh game changeover.
Last week, the 20-year-old Kyrgios became the youngest active player to win an ATP Tour title in Marseille.
“It’s been bothering me the last couple of days,” Kyrgios said. “I had a bit of a hip injury at the start of Marseille. That was still sort of bothering me a little bit. I have been feeling so bad every day, like I’ve got some viral infection, as well.”
Kyrgios is the second significant retirement in two days after Novak Djokovic retired from his quarterfinal match with an eye infection on Thursday.
Wawrinka took a 4-1 lead in the first set, but Kyrgios fought back to even the score at 4-4. Wawrinka won the final five games before the Australian’s retirement.
“He wasn’t really there from the beginning, wasn’t serving his best,” Wawrinka said. “You never know what to expect, because again, as you see when he broke me back at 3-4, he was playing really well.”
The Swiss player was two points away from losing in the first round against Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine.
“If you look from the beginning of the week I was not playing great at all,” Wawrinka said. “But I could still improve, and I’m happy I did.”
Meanwhile, world No. 3 Roger Federer has delayed his Tour return by a month and plans to make his comeback from knee surgery at the Monte Carlo Masters in April.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion had initially intended to return in March at the elite Indian Wells Masters in California where he has won the title four times.
In a Facebook post on Friday, the 34-year-old Federer said: “I have now had a lot of great practices on the court and in the gym. As it is a long year, I don’t want to push it too hard and come back too soon.
“I will unfortunately not be able to make it back in time for the great event in Indian Wells but I do plan on playing in the desert next year.
“After consultation with my team, I have decided to enter the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters. Thanks for the support and I will see you back on tour soon,” the Swiss added.
Federer had arthroscopic knee surgery in Switzerland earlier this month to repair a torn meniscus, having suffered the injury away from a tennis court the day after his Australian Open run ended in the semifinals.
He withdrew from the ABN AMRO tournament in Rotterdam and the Dubai Tennis Championships with the intention of returning for the March 10-20 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells in California.
In Doha, Carla Suarez Navarro restricted No. 3-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska to only two games as she reached the final of the Qatar Open with a 6-2, 6-0 semifinal victory on Friday.
The eighth-seeded Suarez Navarro needed only 62 minutes to beat Radwanska and will next face Latvian 18-year-old Jelena Ostapenko, who reached her first WTA Tour final when German Andrea Petkovic retired with a leg injury while trailing 7-5, 1-0.
Radwanska was 3-1 in head-to-head against Suarez Navarro, which included a crushing 6-1, 6-3 defeat for the Spaniard in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in January, but she was determined to make amends from the word go.
“Today, I feel really, really good,” said Suarez Navarro, who is set to improve to No. 6 in the rankings.
“I think also she was a little tired from yesterday (when she beat Roberta Vinci is three sets).”