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Sports

Angelique Kerber to return to No. 1 spot due to Serena Williams' injury

Angelique Kerber is set to return to the No. 1 spot in the women's rankings after Serena Williams was forced to pull out of the tournament at Indian Wells. The German will now head the field at the Californian event.

Serena Williams announced on Tuesday that she had been forced to withdraw from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and the Miami Open due to a left-knee injury. This means the No. 2 womens player, Germany's Angelique Kerber is set to overtake the American when the next rankings are published.

Williams, a two-time winner in California, had returned to the No. 1 spot in January after claiming a record 23rd Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open. But Serena hasn't played since that victory over her sister Venus at the start of the year.

The 35-year-old had needed to reach the semifinals for a chance to retain her No. 1 ranking.

In the last three years, Kerber has lost in the opening round of the Indian Wells, but this year she has won before she has even taken to the court. Kerber has a bye in the first round, but could face her Fed Cup teammate and friend Andrea Petkovic in the second round.

jh/pfd (dpa, AFP)