Stan Wawrinka is through to the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships after his semi-final opponent Nick Kyrgios was forced to retire.
These two players were involved in a now-infamous sledging incident last year, involving comments made by Kyrgios about Wawrinka’s girlfriend and her former relationship with fellow ATP player Thanasi Kokkinakis, but there were no fireworks between them on Friday.
Wawrinka was leading 6-4, 3-0 when the Australian called it a day, citing a back injury as the reason for his retirement.
The Swiss World No 4 hasn’t been in top form this week, coming to within two points of losing to Sergiy Stakhovsky in the first round, but he’s improved as the tournament has progressed and now looks on course to capture his second title of the year.
“For sure if you look from the beginning of the week I was not playing great at all,” said Wawrinka. “But that’s when I can still improve and I’m happy I did this week – not playing some great tennis, frustrated during matches, but still fighting and trying to find solutions to win more matches during the week to play better.”
Wawrinka was already a winner in Chennai at the beginning of the year, and is enjoying an eight-match winning streak in finals.
Kyrgios was coming off a title win in Marseille, and was looking solid all week, but his body let him down this time around.
“I couldn’t really serve anywhere near my full capacity today,” he said. “He was playing great, anyway. He was playing really aggressive off the second shot of his serve.”
Awaiting Wawrinka in the final is Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, who managed to battle back from a set down to defeat Feliciano Lopez 3-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-1 in the day’s other semi-final.