No.3 seed Angelique Kerber of Germany needed a final-set tiebreak to overcome steely Czech Barbora Strycova, eventually triumphing 1-6, 6-2, 7-6(4), to advance to the Qatar Total Open semifinals on Thursday.
2014 Doha runner-up Kerber took a 7-1 head-to-head lead into her quarterfinal match against Strycova, but the Czech gave the reigning Wimbledon champion all she could handle in their latest clash before Kerber came back from a break down in the final set to notch the barnburner victory, after two hours and seven minutes of play.
Very little separated the two players during the epic encounter, with Kerber having one more winner and three fewer unforced errors than 49th-ranked Strycova. Each player broke serve five times, and it was the German who was just a touch better in the last few points, despite having squandered an early break in the final set.
World No.6 Kerber must now recover in time for a semifinal battle against either No.5 seed Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands or Elise Mertens of Belgium, who play their quarterfinal match later on Thursday.