Angelique Kerber has failed to usurp world number one Serena Williams in new rankings after Elina Svitolina defeated her in the last four of the Dubai Championships.
The loss is the third straight one for Kerber in meetings with the Ukrainian.
Williams would likely play lesser tournaments this year. The 36-year old star is reported to likely skip the Madrid event as she tries to manage her schedule this year. After the Miami events – that ends in the first week in April – Williams might get some rest. She would likely focus on the rest of the Grand Slams for this year, Indian Wells, Rome, the WTA Finals and a few other events aside the events in Miami and Auckland, which she already played in.
Svitolina, 23, defeated Kerber 6-3, 7-6 (7-3). The 29-year old could have regained the number one spot in the WTA rankings if she had won the championships. She is the oldest player to claim the top spot when she peaked in the rankings in September 2016. She spent 20 weeks at the top before she lost it to Williams.
“I’m not thinking about this. I know how it feels to be number one. I reached it once, and for sure I will try to get back there. For me, it’s really important to be healthy, and if I play consistently the next weeks or months, then we will see what happens then. I’m not looking at the number before my name actually,” Kerber said.
Svitolina would move on to play Caroline Wozniacki who is set to play her second straight final. Wozniacki played and lost to Karolina Pliskova in Doha but she would be hoping to get a win this time around. The Dane defeated Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 6-4 on her way to the final.