WTA Dubai: Belinda Bencic dethrones Elina Svitolina to set Kvitova clash


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WTA Dubai: Belinda Bencic dethrones Elina Svitolina to set Kvitova clash

A former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova is through to her 35th WTA final and already the third of the season after a 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 win over Su-Wei Hsieh in challenging two hours and nine minutes. This will be the second Dubai final for Kvitova and the first in six years, defeating Viktoria Kuzmova on Thursday and overcoming a slow start today to cross the finish line first and extend her great streak in 2019 so far.

The Czech got broken three times, controlling the pace in her games after the opening set and shifting the pressure to the other side of the net, earning 11 break chances in sets two and three and doing enough damage to seal the deal and book the place in the title match.

Su-Wei lost the previous three encounters against Kvitova and she was eager to change that today following a thrilling win over Karolina Pliskova from 5-1 down in the third set, winning the opener but losing the edge at the start of the final set, unable to pull the break back and prolong the clash.

It was a slow start for Kvitova who won just six points on the return in the first set, losing four games in a row to find herself 6-3 down. Hsieh drew first blood in the seventh game when the Czech sent a forehand long, scoring a break at love in game nine thanks to a terrible volley from Petra who had to change the course of the match as soon as possible to stand any chance.

She did that in the second set, fending off all four break points she faced and breaking in game three to forge a lead, extending it with a return winner in game five for a 4-1. The last few games were messy for both players and Petra secured the set after saving a break point in game eight, building the momentum before the decider where she broke twice in a row to move 2-1 up.

That proved to be the crucial moment as Kvitova managed to keep the break throughout the set, sealing the deal with a service winner in game ten that propelled her into the final. A former world no. 7 Belinda Bencic is through to her biggest final since St.

Petersburg in 2016 after a thrilling 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 triumph over the two-time defending champion Elina Svitolina in an hour and 58 minutes. Five years ago in Charleston, Belinda defeated Elina in three sets and she gave her best today to repeat that, two days after saving six match points against Aryna Sabalenka and some 24 hours since she toppled Simona Halep.

The Swiss made the difference with her second serve, suffering four breaks but creating 12 chances on the return, converting five and overcoming a 5-3 deficit in the decider to wrap up the win and score three straight top-10 wins for the first time since Toronto 2015!

Bencic needed less than 30 minutes to grab the opening set 6-2, barely losing a point on serve and moving 4-1 up with a backhand winner for a double break. She closed the set when Svitolina netted a forehand in game eight, jumping in front with an early break in set number two as well.

The Ukrainian pulled the break back in the very next game to end her downfall, opening a 4-2 lead when Belinda sprayed a forehand error in the sixth game, trading breaks in the following two games before Svitolina held in game nine for a 6-3.

They saved the best for the last set, with Bencic sending a forehand long at 3-3 to suffer a break before erasing the deficit in the very last moment, breaking back at love in game ten when Elina hit a double fault. Serving to stay in the match at 5-6, the Ukrainian fended off three match points to set up a tie break that Bencic won 7-3 after a perfect lob winner, celebrating a huge win and chasing the first title since Toronto four years ago.