Comeback queen Bencic stuns champion to reach Dubai final

May JohnsonFeb 26, 2019

Former victor Petra Kvitova will face Belinda Bencic in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Saturday after both claimed thrilling three-set victories.

In a wild final set that lasted almost as long as the first two combined, Bencic rallied from a 5-3 deficit by winning eight straight points, but ultimately needed to show her mettle after Svitolina staved off three chances for her to win the match in a dramatic 12th game. I'm pleased with my mental focus after losing the first set.

The 21-year-old's opponent in the final, former victor of the competition Petra Kvitova, defeated Hsieh Su-Wei 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 putting a stop to the unseeded Taiwanese player's giant-killing run.

"It was a tough one today, for sure", Kvitova, the victor of two Wimbledon titles, said. "She had a lot of aces (nine), I'm just happy I was able to make it back".

"I didn't really play the best in the end of the first set".

But Svitolina bounced back to level things in the second set, and things looked ominous for Bencic when she was broken in the seventh game of the final set. "I'm so excited, I was screaming like a baby when I won", Hsieh said in victory. "I do feel my muscles, for sure, especially on the legs".

The young Swiss will be looking to avoid a similar fate in her rematch with Kvitova in Dubai on Saturday.

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Hsieh, who lost to Kvitov in the Sydney second round, snatched the opening set on a pair of breaks, with the Czech forced into a fightback in the second.

"She didn't give me any high balls". But the in-form Bencic, working her way back up the ranks after wrist surgery in 2017 saw her teenage No7 ranking slip outside the top 300, has proven her fitness and quality through the week.

Belinda Bencic edged past defending champion Elina Svitolina 6-2 3-6 7-6 (3).

"I think I'm always the most proud of how I fight", Bencic said after posting the victory. I was calmer when I came back and played the second.

In the end, Hsieh had no answer to Kvitova's raw power, mustering just 14 clean winners compared to 48 from her opponent. I don't know. It was something weird. I think I did the right thing. "Yeah, we'll see. Hopefully I will not be Petra's victim".

Switzerland's Belinda Bencic reacts after winning over Ukraine's Elina Svitolina during their women's singles semifinals match of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019.

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