DUBAI (AFP) - The depleted Dubai Tennis Championships lost another popular drawcard on Thursday as Czech Barbora Strycova defeated former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.
The quarter-final exit of the Serb drove another nail into the only WTA tournament in history to lose all eight seeds as none won a single match to exit in the first or second rounds.
The unfortunate turn of events, combined with the injury pullouts of the world's top two players in Serena Williams and Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber, have hit the tournament hard.
In addition, Caroline Wozniacki withdrew, citing injury but was in attendance this week at the Sports Illustrated awards in New York.
Reports indicate that the WTA will be looking into the pullouts from a tournament which also serves as a major sponsor of the Tour itself.
Strycova will face Caroline Garcia on Friday for a place in the final after the 38th-ranked Frenchwoman beat Germany's Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-4.
Sara Errani struggled through a match littered with 39 break-point chances to post a difficult 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 defeat of Madison Brengle.
The Italian, who played the 2013 final in Dubai against Petra Kvitova, will next play against Ukraine's Elina Svitolina who beat American Coco Vandeweghe 6-4, 1-6, 6-2.