Back pain forced Victoria Azarenka to default her WTA Doha semi-final on Friday, sending opponent Garbine Muguruza into Saturday’s hardcourt title match.
Spain’s two-time Grand Slam champion will face double Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova after the Czech defeated US qualifier Jessica Pegula 6-4, 6-4.
Eighth seed Azarenka, Doha winner in 2012-2013, was unable to make it to the court in the Gulf after winning her previous match, where the injury began
“Unfortunately, the pain in my back that I experienced during yesterday’s match has not gone away enough in order for me to be able to compete tonight,” the Belarus player said.
“I’ve loved being back in Doha and thank the tournament for making it possible to play during these challenging times.
“I appreciate my wild card, I’m looking forward to being back again next year.”
The unseeded Muguruza, ranked 16th, will be playing her 14th career final when she takes on Kvitova, winner of the pair’s last four matches form five played.
The Spaniard won her last trophy in 2019 at Monterrey.
Kvitova also beat Pegula in their only other meeting, in the US open third round last September.
The Czech seed broke six times before moving through on a first match point.