A day after the seeds cruised into the quarterfinals, three of the top four seeds were ousted in the quarters on Thursday. Only Stan Wawrinka survived, with world number one Novak Djokovic two others sent packing. Here’s what happened on a wild quarterfinal day at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Djokovic Forced Out Due to Eye Problems
For the first time since 2008, someone other than Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic will win in Dubai after Djokovic was forced to retire from his match today. The Serb pulled out of the match after dropping the first against Feliciano Lopez 6-3. The reason for the retirement was an eye infection. The world number one was broken in the opening game in the match, before calling for the trainer at 2-1.
Djokovic would begin to play better after that, but continued to struggle on his return, which is usually a strength. He could not reach break point at all in the set, only winning five points on return. Lopez broke again to close out the opening set. Before play got underway in the second set, Djokovic called it quits. For more information, check out the full report.
Lopez will now take on Marcos Baghdatis in the semifinals. Baghdatis upset fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut 7-5, 6-0. The Spaniard had been dominant in his second round match, requiring less than an hour to reach the quarterfinals. However, he was unable to find that level against the Cypriot.
The first set was tight with the combatants exchanging breaks early. Baghdatis broke late to grab the opening set. The break completely swung the momentum to the Cypriot, who blasted through the second set. Baghdatis would only lose 11 points in the entire set to clinch the victory.
Kyrgios Remains Red Hot
Nick Kyrgios scored his second victory over Tomas Berdych in as many weeks, topping the third seed 6-4, 6-4. Kyrgios was at his hard serving best, pounding ten aces and saving all ten break points that he faced in the match. Despite a strong first serve from Berdych, the young Aussie chipped away at the Czech’s second serve. He was rewarded with one break in each set, claiming victory in an hour and 26 minutes. Kyrgios reaches his second consecutive semifinal in as many weeks.
The win sets up a rematch with the highest remaining seed and new title favorite, Stan Wawrinka. This will be their first match since the controversial Rogers Cup match back in August, with the "sledge" heard around the world. Wawrinka put in a solid performance against the tricky Philipp Kohlschreiber on Thursday. The first set was wild, with both men exchanging a pair of breaks in the early stages of the opening set. Wawrinka broke Kohlschreiber at 6-5 to claim the opening set.
The German kept pushing in the second set, but could not convert any of his five break points. All the while, his own serve fell apart as Kohlschreiber won just three second serve points. Wawrinka broke twice to wrap up the victory and advance to the semifinals.
Lopez, Baghdatis, Kyrgios and Wawrinka will now battle for the right to be the first non-Federer or Djokovic champion in Dubai since Andy Roddick in 2008. Lopez will play Baghdatis, while Kyrgios and Wawrinka will contest a highly-anticipated duel for a spot in the final.