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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 March 2019

Dubai Tennis 2019: Belinda Bencic shocks defending champion Elina Svitolina to reach final

The world No 37 wins thrilling match on Centre Court 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 to set-up final with Petra Kvitova

Switzerland's Belinda Bencic is through to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships final. AP Photo
Switzerland's Belinda Bencic is through to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships final. AP Photo

Surprise package Belinda Bencic produced another upset on Friday as she defeated defending champion Elina Svitolina to reach the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships final.

The Swiss player won a thrilling encounter on Centre Court 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 to set up a showdown with Petra Kvitova for the title on Saturday.

The world No 37's triumph, which came after she had been a break down in the final set, ended Svitolina's hopes of becoming the first woman to win the tournament three times in a row following her 2017 and 2018 successes.

Bencic, 21, who had survived six match points against No 8 seed Aryna Sabalenka in the last 16 on Wednesday, and then come from a set down to beat world No 2 Simona Halep on Wednesday, raced through the first set with two breaks of serve.

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.

Svitolina served for the match at 5-4 but was broken to love, and Bencic then failed to take three match points on her opponents serve in the 12th game.

But Bencic held her nerve in a tense tie-break and clinched victory on her fourth match point as she won it 7-4.

Updated: February 22, 2019 10:53 PM

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