DOHA, Qatar, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- French players Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga advanced to the finals of the Qatar Exxon Mobil Open after a big upset win and a withdrawal.
Monfils beat world No. 2 Rafael Nadal for only the second time in 10 matches, posting a solid 6-3, 6-4 victory for the upset.
Tsonga took his spot in the finals after his scheduled semifinal opponent, Roger Federer, withdrew with a back injury.
Monfils cashed in all three of his break-point chances, with a key break coming in the seventh game of the second set.
An early break allowed Nadal to go up 4-1 in the set but Monfils won the final five games. The seventh-game break evened the set and a break at love in the ninth game set up the win.
Tsonga holds a 2-1 series edge over Monfils. Tsonga is 7-5 -- 2-4 last year alone -- in ATP finals. Monfils is 4-11 in title matches.
Federer, the No. 2 seed and defending champion in Doha, announced his withdrawal early Friday. He said, however, he expected to be ready to play in the Australian Open, which begins in 10 days.
"For Australia, I'm optimistic, just because it's not very good but it isn't crazy bad," Federer said. "I have had bad backs in the past. This is definitely not very good; otherwise I would be playing. But I feel without play and the right treatment, I will get through it in the next few days."
Federer extended his personal winning streak to 20 matches with a quarterfinal victory Thursday over Andreas Seppi. He won his last three tournaments of 2011 and is ranked No. 3 in the world.