Serena regains No 1 ranking

Serena Williams ensured she will regain the world number one ranking next week after she beat Petra Kvitova 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 to reach the Qatar Open semifinals.

The American, 31, last held the top spot in October 2010, and she now becomes the oldest woman to reach number one. Chris Evert held the top ranking in 1985 just before turning 31. She will replace  Victoria Azarenka as the new No 1.

“I've been through so much and I just never thought I'd be here,’’ Williams said.  "I'm so sensitive nowadays," added a tearful Williams after her victory.

"I'm always crying, but I never thought I would be here again. I've been through so much and I just never thought I'd be here, so thank you Jehovah for giving me another chance,’’ the 15-times Grand Slam champion said.

Serena will meet Maria Sharapova, who brushed aside Australia's Samantha Stosur 6-2 6-4 .

The Russian, who began the week with the possibility of reclaiming the world number one ranking, has not dropped a set in her three matches, a feat equalled by  Azarenka who saw off Italian Sara Errani 6-2 6-2.

Del Potro in semis

In Rotterdam, World number seven Juan Martin Del Potro stayed on course for his second successive appearance in the final of the World Indoor Tournament by sweeping aside Finn Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 6-4.

The Argentine, beaten in last year's final by Roger Federer, will play Grigor Dimitrov in the last four after the Bulgarian came from behind to defeat Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 6-7, 7-6, 6-3 in a thriller.  "There are no easy matches here," Del Potro told reporters.  Del Potro had beaten Ernests Gulbis 7-6, 6-3 in the pre-quarterfinal on Thursday.

The 21-year-old Dimitrov looked down and out when he trailed 6-5 in the second set but he then reeled off 18 consecutive points to level the match, before going on to reach the semifinal. 

Federer failed to match the accuracy of Cupid’s arrow on Valentine’s Day but still cruised past Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker 6-3, 6-4 in the second round  on Thursday.

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