Wozniacki wins gripping Kerber contest to keep No.1 spot

It was a back-and-forth match, but Caroline Wozniacki will remain world number one after beating Angelique Kerber at the Qatar Open.

Caroline Wozniacki in action   -  Getty Images

Caroline Wozniacki outfought Angelique Kerber to win an enthralling Qatar Open quarter-final on Friday and ensure she will remain world number one.

The Dane recovered from going a break down in the first set and responded to a disappointing dip in the second to record a 7-6 (7-4) 1-6 6-3 victory over Kerber, who won more points than her opponent but was left to rue too many missed chances.

Victory for Australian Open champion Wozniacki – a beaten finalist in Qatar 12 months ago – means she will keep her place atop the rankings after Simona Halep withdrew with a foot injury, having defeated CiCi Bellis to reach the last four.

In a competitive opening it was Kerber, who had already saved a couple of break points, that broke first with a sensational forehand down the line.

Kerber showed great determination to save more break points, before it was Wozniacki's turn to play on the back foot in a mammoth game seven - some brave work on two separate break points keeping her in the set.

It proved a crucial moment as Kerber, serving for the set at 5-4, was broken back by an exquisite forehand return.

The German missed three break-point chances to regain the lead and Wozniacki, having missed with a set point in game 12, controlled the tie-break.

Kerber quickly channelled her frustration to dominate the second set, although a notable dip from Wozniacki played its part.

The Dane put an easy overhead into the net and followed up by going wide to offer up one break, before another wild overhead gifted Kerber a 5-1 lead.

Wozniacki appeared deflated and was comfortably broken again at the start of the decider, but she rallied from 40-0 down in the next game to level immediately at 1-1.

That halted Kerber's momentum and, after some gripping tennis by both players, Wozniacki stole a march in game eight as more excellent defensive play led to a break point that Kerber put wide.

And Wozniacki held her nerve to serve out for the match and punch her ticket to the semi-final.

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