Tennis: World No. 3 Simona Halep pulls out of Qatar Open

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Dubai: Simona Halep, the world No. 3 and defending Dubai Duty Free champion, has pulled out of next week’s Qatar Open, organisers of the WTA event announced on Tuesday.

The Romanian’s withdrawal follows her Australian Open quarter-final loss to Serena Williams.

“Unfortunately I’ve decided to withdraw, I can’t wait to be back in Doha next year,” organisers quoted her as saying on Instagram.

She gave no reason for her absence from the March 1-6 tournament, but she is scheduled to defend her Dubai title, beginning on March 7.

With Halep missing, the top seeds in Qatar are world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, and Sofia Kenin, fourth in the world and winner of the Australian Open in 2020.

At Melbourne Halep, 29, was thwarted by Williams in her bid for a maiden triumph at the year’s opening Grand Slam after falling short to Caroline Wozniacki in the 2018 decider, and losing in straight sets to Garbine Muguruza in last year’s semi-finals.

The 2018 French Open champion and 2019 Wimbledon winner’s seven-year streak in the top 10 is the longest active run among women.

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