Top-seeded Angelique Kerber struggled with a knee injury during a 6-3, 7-6 (3) loss to seventh seed Elina Svitolina in the semifinals of the Dubai Tennis Championships on Friday.
Kerber would have reclaimed No. 1 ranking if she won the Dubai title, but that seemed of secondary importance after her loss.
“I’m not thinking about this,” Kerber said. “For me it’s really important to be healthy.”
Kerber was not sure what caused the injury.
“I don’t know what’s with my knee now, but I feel pain a little bit,” the German player said. “At the end, I tried my best. This is how I am.”
Svitolina beat Kerber for the third straight match and advances to play 10th-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, who earlier reached her second consecutive final of the season with a 6-3, 6-4 semifinal win over Latvian Anastasija Sevastova.
Svitolina’s victory increased her winning streak to 11 matches. The Ukrainian won the Taiwan Open earlier this month for a fifth career title.
Wozniacki, a losing finalist at the Doha tournament last week, is seeking her 26th career title.
“Very happy how I have managed to get through these two weeks, because it’s been very tiring mentally,” she said. “The fact that I have just been staying in there and keep grinding, I’m kind of proud of that.”
The last time she reached back-to-back finals was at the 2014 U.S. Open and Tokyo tournaments, but lost both.
Wozniacki won the Dubai title in 2011 and has reached at least the semifinals in six of the seven years she’s played at the event, compiling a 22-5 record.
“I love playing here,” she said. “To have a finals here again, it just feels good.”