After a week of upsets, two surprising finals in the Middle East were set on Friday. In Dubai, after the departure of top seed Novak Djokovic yesterday, former Top 10 Marcos Baghdatis took advantage of the opening beating the Serb’s ouster Feliciano Lopez 3-6, 7-6(1), 6-1.
The final is Baghdatis’s biggest final since reaching the Washington title match back in 2010.
“It’s amazing,” said Baghdatis. “It’s been a long road for me the past three, four years. It’s all about fighting, getting back to where I want to be. Last year we set some goals to be Top 50 with my team. I achieved that.
“Now I’m moving forward. I think I have still a lot to improve on, but the most important thing is health-wise I’m very, very good. I don’t have any injuries or the health problems that I had. I’m happy I’m back on the court and winning. It’s a nice feeling. I’m going to work even harder so it continues.
“I have definitely thought of retiring. That’s where my wife (former WTA player Karolina Sprem) was there and was very strong, made me take the right decisions. My agent, my parents, my team around me, we saw the light at the end of the tunnel.”
The 30-year-old will be the big underdog in the final against Stan Wawrinka who advanced when red hot Nick Kyrgios retired due to a back injury down 6-4, 3-0.
“I couldn’t really serve anywhere near my full capacity today,” said Kyrgios who just won Marseille on Sunday. “He was playing great, anyway. He was playing really aggressive off the second shot of his serve.”
Kyrgios will travel to Melbourne to join his Australian team as they host the U.S. next weekend.
Wawrinka will seek his first title in Dubai and keep the trophy in Switzerland after Roger Federer’s win last 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.”
In Doha, the upsets from Dubai a week ago continued as rising star Jelena Ostpenko was the beneficiary of an Andrea Petkovic retirement (thigh injury) to reach her biggest career final. She’ll meet Carlos Suarez Navarro who upset Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 6-0.
“I’m really happy with how I played today,” said the 18-year-old Ostapenko. “I’m sorry for Andrea that she had to retire. It’s not nice after reaching the semis because she’s great player. I’m really happy that I could fight from 5-1 and win the set.
“I’m really happy to play the finals tomorrow.”
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