Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 November 2019

Dubai champion Belinda Bencic books WTA Finals place at 'last possible minute'

Swiss world No 10 is the eighth and final player to be confirmed for the season-ending tournament in Shenzhen

Belinda Bencic during her Kremlin Cup semi-final win over Kristina Mladenovic which booked her place at the WTA Finals. EPA
Belinda Bencic during her Kremlin Cup semi-final win over Kristina Mladenovic which booked her place at the WTA Finals. EPA

Swiss player Belinda Bencic booked her place in the WTA Finals in Shenzhen after reaching the final of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow with a 6-3, 6-4 win over France's Kristina Mladenovic.

Bencic, 22, earned the eighth and final spot for the season-ending tournament in China, joining Ashleigh Barty, Karolina Pliskova, Simona Halep, Bianca Andreescu, Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova and Elina Svitolina.

After a prolonged spell struggling with injuries, 2019 has been a resurgent season for Bencic, who won her first title in nearly four years at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships where she defeated four top-10 players en route to the trophy.

Bencic also produced her best ever Grand Slam result this season by reaching the semi-finals of the US Open, resulting in a return to the top 10 of the WTA rankings for the first time since 2015.

Other notable tournaments for Bencic include reaching the Mallorca Open final, and three semi-finals, at the Hobart International, Indian Wells, and Madrid Open.

“It’s a dream to be competing at the WTA Finals and to be one of the top eight," Bencic said. "It makes it even more special that I booked my ticket at the last possible minute. This match had so much pressure and I was so nervous. Now I’m over the moon to win today and achieve this dream.

“All the eight players deserve to be there because it shows we had the most consistent seasons. This was also a big goal after all my injuries to have a really consistent goal and to reach Shenzhen is a huge bonus and a reward for an amazing season.”

The WTA Finals will take place October 27 to November 3, with the eight players competing for a record prize fund of $14 million (Dh51.4m).

Updated: October 19, 2019 05:54 PM

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