Title favourite Dominic Thiem had to withdraw from his Qatar Open semifinal against Gael Monfils on Friday due to a cold and fever.
The Austrian was the only seeded player remaining in the draw, and did not drop a set on his way to the semi-finals, but his title challenge was brought to an abrupt end by illness.
“I am in bed with fever and there is almost no chance of a recovery until tonight,” Thiem wrote on Facebook. “Of course I am disappointed, but nevertheless I had a solid start into the new season.
“Now I am focusing on Melbourne and being fit and prepared for the first Grand Slam of the year.”
Thiem, currently ranked fifth in the world, has 10 days to recover before the Australian Open starts.
As for Monfils, he moves on to the final without hitting a shot, where he will take on Russian Andrey Rublev.
Rublev came through a tight two-and-a-half-hour battle against Argentina’s Guido Pella in the day’s other semi-final, securing a 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7-2) victory.