Tennis: Kyrgios overcomes discomfort to book Dubai semi-final

Nick Kyrgios of Australia returns the ball to Tomas Berdych.
Nick Kyrgios of Australia returns the ball to Tomas Berdych.PHOTO: EPA

DUBAI (AFP) - Nick Kyrgios overcame back pain and stomach illness to beat Tomas Berdych for a second week in a row, posting a 6-4, 6-4 victory to reach the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships on Thursday.

"I wasn't in the greatest shape, obviously. I think I got a bit of food poisoning last night," Kyrgios said.

"I was really surprised with the performance I gave out there today, coming out and beating a quality player and in tough conditions.

"It's probably my favourite win over the last couple of weeks."

Kyrgios followed up on his semi-final defeat of the Czech third seed from last week in Marseille, where he claimed the first ATP title of his career.

"It's tough, especially with Tomas. He's so diligent with everything he does, so professional. For me to come out there and put in a great performance like that, I just took my chances when they came.

"Conditions were really fast. When one of us got a pretty good strike, I think the point was pretty much over."

The 20-year-old, ranked 33rd, won his eighth consecutive match and will wait for an opponent as second seed Stan Wawrinka and German Philipp Kohlschreiber clash later.

If it is Wawrinka, Kyrgios is expecting no drama as the pair play for the first time since Kyrgios made crude remarks concerning Wawrinka's girlfriend Donna Vekic during a heated match with the Swiss last August in Montreal.

But Kyrgios said there won't be a problem: "Since the incident. I think we've both moved on from it.

"We played on the same team in IPTL. That was actually really good. I got to know him a little bit more. He played great there. He's one of the best players in the world, no doubt. He's playing great tennis."

Top seed Novak Djokovic was facing Spain's Feliciano Lopez as the Serb returns to action a day after clocking the 700th victory of his career.

Marcos Baghdatis returned to the semi-finals here after a six-year pause as he knocked out fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut 7-5, 6-0 and will play the winner.

The first set was a 67-minute struggle while the popular Cypriot broke it open in the second to send the Spaniard out.

Baghdatis overcame four double-faults in the eighth game of the first set to suddenly turn his momentum.

"That was the most important game of the match - and the week," said the 2006 Australian Open finalist. "I'm very happy, the way I ended it (with an ace). I think I started playing better and better throughout the second set."

Kyrgios brought out the physio after the fifth game of his opening set against Berdych for a tight back. The right-hander, who was injured during the Australian Open in January, has been going flat-out since returning last week.

He will be tested physically with a Davis Cup tie next weekend in Melbourne against the United States.

Berdych, a two-time Dubai finalist, had reached the semi-finals at the Aviation Club in four of the last five years.

The last loss for Kyrgios in 2016 came against Berdych in the Australian Open third round.

Kyrgios took 41 minutes to win the first set but dominated in the second, losing only three points on serve as he rolled to the win, finishing with a 10th ace.