Kerber survives scare to reach semifinals

Angelique Kerber of Germany reacts after winning her WTA Qatar Open quarterfinal tennis match against Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic, in Doha on Thursday. — AFP

DOHA — Three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber came from a set down on Thursday to reach the Qatar Open sem-finals, in a match lasting more than two hours.

The world No. 6 won 1-6, 6-2, 7-5 (7-4) in a tough encounter against Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic — who was given a time violation in the final set — to set up a last-four clash against Kiki Bertens or Elise Mertens.

The German not only battled back from being a set down, she was also a break down in the second and third sets before winning through.

It is Kerber's first semifinal since she won at Wimbledon last year. Bertens and Mertens play later on Thursday.

Earlier, Ukraine's Elina Svitolina became the first player through to the semi-finals, beating another Czech, qualifier Karolina Muchova 6-4, 6-2.

She will either play world No. 3 and top seed in Doha, Simona Halep, or Germany's Julia Goerges in the next round. That pair also play later on Thursday.

Injured Sharapova out of

Indian Wells: Organizers

Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from next month's WTA Indian Wells Open after failing to overcome a right shoulder injury, tournament organizers said Wednesday.

The 31-year-old Russian star has been struggling with a right shoulder problem which forced her withdrawal from the Saint Petersburg tournament last month.

Organizers of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells announced on Wednesday the same problem had prompted her withdrawal from the March 4-17 event in California.

Sharapova's place in the main draw will be taken by Germany's Mona Barthel, organizers said. Sharapova has been struggling back to top fitness since watching from the sidelines during her 15-month doping ban that ended in 2017.

The former world No. 1 missed out on a place in the Australian Open quarterfinals last month, but insisted she still believes she can increase her tally of five Slam titles. — AFP