Mona Barthel continues comeback, reaches Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge semi


DUBAI // Mona Barthel, once a top-25 player in the world, will face off against the top-ranked remaining player on Friday in the semi-finals at the Al Habtoor Challenge. 

Germany’s Barthel, 26, reached a career-high ranking of No 23 in the world in March 2013. She finished inside the year-end top-50 both in 2014 and 2015, but plummeted in the rankings this year after missing much of the season with what she at one point called "health issues".

A winner of three WTA titles, Barthel played in only 16 Tour events this year, going 7-15. In Dubai however she has flashed some of her best, beating world third-seeded world No 86 Evgeniya Rodina in the opening round in straight sets, before Thursday’s 6-3, 6-4 win over Ivana Jorovic set her up for a semi-final with fifth-seeded Hsieh Su-wei.

Hsieh needed only 47 minutes to dismiss Serbian Aleksandra Krunic 6-1, 6-2 in the quarter-finals

Dutch qualifier Lesley Kerkhove meanwhile kept her dream run going, defeating Sabina Sharipova 6-2, 6-3 to book her place in the semi-finals of the $100,000 (Dh367,000) tournament.

Ranked No 209 in the world, Kerkhove, 25, is now one win away from playing the biggest final of her career. She has appeared in 13 ITF finals until now, winning three, but all those finals have been in the $10,000 and $25,000 category.

Kerhove will next meet Natalia Vikhlyantseva of Russia, who brought Kazakh wildcard Galina Voskoboeva’s run to an end with a 6-3, 6-1 win.

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