January 5, 2018 / 6:19 PM / 2 months ago

Tennis-Rublev to face Monfils in Qatar final after Thiem withdraws

Jan 5 (Reuters) - Russian Andrey Rublev overcame Guido Pella to reach the Qatar Open final, where he will face wildcard Gael Monfils on Saturday after top seed Dominic Thiem withdrew from his semi-final clash against the Frenchman because of illness.

Rublev, who beat Fernando Verdasco and Borna Coric in the previous rounds, came back from the brink of defeat to earn a 6-2 4-6 7-6(2) win in a fiercely contested match against the Argentine.

World No.5 Thiem was the only remaining seeded player still in contention for the season-opening title but was forced to withdraw from Friday’s match.

“I am in bed with fever and there is almost no chance of a recovery until tonight,” the Austrian wrote on his official Facebook account. “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, 24, is scheduled to play at the Tie Break Tens evening exhibition at Melbourne Park on Jan. 10 in preparation for the Australian Open, which begins on Jan. 15.

Frenchman Monfils has finished runner-up in the Doha tournament on three previous occasions. (Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by David Goodman)

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