Belinda Bencic of Switzerland has that winning feeling again after defeating Petra Kvitova 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 in Dubai. It is her first WTA title since she won the Rogers Cup in Toronto back in 2015.
The Swiss player was almost out of the tournament in the R16 after facing six match points against Aryna Sabalenka.
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Photo: Belinda Bencic of Switzerland celebrates with the trophy after winning her the final against Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic on day seven of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium on February 23, 2019 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)
“It’s unbelievable. It’s incredible. I mean, I still cannot believe it,” Bencic told press later. “Especially I’m realizing after two rounds, we were already saying, ‘Wow, this is a great tournament.’ Now it’s only bonus.
“Then I won against Sabalenka after being out already. We said the same thing again. Really, the expectations after two rounds were not there anymore. So many times I was close from defeat. It’s unbelievable that I ended up winning this.”
Bencic broke Kvitova to love in the first game of the match, she converted at the first opportunity when she wound up and hit a big backhand to Kvitova’s backhand corner, the no. 2 seed could not handle the pace and hit long.
Bencic was able to break serve on three occasions in the first set as she took the first set 6-3. Kvitova got one break in the opening set to take the score to 4-3 before Bencic broke again to seal the first set.
Kvitova came roaring back in the second set as she broke Bencic three times without facing a break point against her serve. Just as Kvitova looked to be on top Bencic came fighting back, breaking Kvitova twice in the deciding set to win the match 6-3, 1-6, 6-2. The first break came in the third game when Kvitova served a double fault to concede.
With Kvitova serving at 2-4 down in the third set she charged the net on the 15-30 point, Bencic hit a dipping backhand that Kvitova failed to volley back to Bencic’s side of the net. On the next point, Kvitova hit long to go two breaks behind.
Bencic hit her first championship point into the net to see the score at deuce, she then earned another chance and it was Kvitova that hit long to hand the trophy to her opponent.
Back in 2015, Bencic won the Rogers Cup in Toronto. On her path to the title, she defeated world no. 5 Caroline Wozniacki, world no. 6 Ana Ivanovic, world no. 1 Serena Williams and world no. 3 Simona Halep. She matched that feat of defeating four top-ten players on her way to the Dubai title.
Bencic collects $520,615 and 900 rankings points for the title win. Her ranking will jump from 45 to 23 when the rankings are updated on Monday.