Belinda Bencic Upsets Sabalenka To Reach Last Eight in Dubai - UBITENNIS
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Belinda Bencic Upsets Sabalenka To Reach Last Eight in Dubai

Belinda Bencic produced some great tennis to beat Aryna Sabalenka in three sets and earn a quarter-final meeting with Simona Halep in Dubai.




Belinda Bencic (@HopmanCup on Twitter)

Belinda Bencic earned the 15th top-ten win of her career when she beat Aryna Sabalenka 6-4 2-6 7-6(7) to advance to her first WTA Premier quarter-final since 2015.


On the last occasion when the Swiss player reached the last eight of a premier event, she went on to lift the Rogers Cup in Toronto.

However, she has been unable to cement her place in the tennis elite since then due to a lengthy run of bad luck with injuries.

To her immense credit, Bencic, 21, has never given up despite those setbacks and her run in Dubai has already ensured she will be back inside the world’s top 40 when the rankings are updated next Monday.

When the Swiss spoke on court after her victory, she seemed stunned about the way she won after saving six match points.

“I’m not sure why I won,” Bencic said. “I was in the locker room five times already taking a shower and still I won the match.”

“I think we both played great. Aryna’s a great player and I think we both deserved to win. I was a little bit lucky in the end.”

She continued, “I played the match points with my back to the wall. I had nothing to lose and I cannot believe that it turned around.”

Bencic makes strong start but Sabalenka roars back

Aryna Sabalenka (@ShenzhenOpenWTA on Twitter)

Bencic made an impressive start to the match when she returned superbly to race into a 5-1 lead. She then gathered herself after a fightback from Sabalenka to close out the opening set 6-4.

In the second set, it was a different story, as the powerful Belarussian demonstrated why she has risen from 60 to nine in the world rankings in the last twelve months with a stream of eye-catching winners.

That relentless hitting enabled Sabalenka to take the set 6-2, and the decider looked to be following a similar pattern when she moved 3-1 and then 5-3 ahead.

However, Bencic is a fighter, and she broke back twice to get the set back on serve at 5-4. She then saved two match points as she held to make it 5-5.

The drama was far from over, as Bencic hit three brilliant winners from match point down on serve at 5-6 to take the match into a final set tie-break.

It still looked as if Sabalenka would win the match when the Swiss made two double-faults and fell 4-1 behind. But Bencic refused to give in. She saved two more match points before seizing her first chance to seal victory when she coaxed the Belarussian into an error.

In her on-court interview, the Swiss shared a tactical insight into what it takes to beat Sabalenka. “It’s really tough to play her because she hits so hard,” Bencic said. “You have to risk sometimes and try to play a little bit faster.”

The Swiss player’s reward for her hard-fought victory is an exciting clash with Simona Halep. “She’s a champion,” Bencic said. “But I have nothing to lose anymore; I can only win. I’m really happy about this tournament already so everything now is a bonus.”


Fiona Ferro beats Camila Giorgi to set up final against Anett Kontaveit




France’s Fiona Ferro came back from one set down to beat Italy’s Camila Giorgi 2-6 6-2 7-5 reaching her first final of the season at the Ladies Open in Palermo. Ferro sets up a final against Anett Kontaveit, who beat top seed Petra Martic 6-2 6-4. 


Giorgi broke twice in a row to open up a 4-0 lead and saved three break points before holding serve for 5-0. Ferro pulled one break back, when Giorgi was serving for the first set. Giorgi sealed the opening set 6-2 with her third break in the eighth game. 

Ferro earned an early break in the first game of the second set and held her serve after saving two break points to open up a 2-0 lead. Ferro went up a double break in the fifth game to race out to a 4-1 lead, but Giorgi got one break back for 2-4. Ferro broke again in the seventh game and served out the second set 6-2. 

Giorgi dropped her serve in the third game of the second set and saved a break point in the fifth game. Giorgi broke back in the 10th game, as Ferro was serving for the match at 5-4. Ferro broke serve in the 11th game and served out the win on her second match point. 

Giorgi was aiming to become the first Italian player to reach the final in Palermo since Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci battled for the title in 2013. Ferro is unbeaten in all her four post-lockdown matches on the WTA Tour.

Ferro beat an Italian opponent for the second evening in a row one day after her win over Sara Errani. 

“I would have never won those matches two years ago. I used to focus on my opponent when she was playing aggressive, and I did not find solutions. Today I am very happy to be through because I managed to focus more on my game and not on my emotions”, said Ferro.

“I have no regrets. I felt in good shape and I tried to play my own game. The break in the third set made the difference”, said Giorgi.

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Anett Kontaveit beats Petra Martic to reach the final in Palermo




World number 22 Anett Kontaveit from Estonia upset number 1 seed Petra Martic 6-2 6-4 to reach the final at the Ladies Open in Palermo. 


Martic has scored her third win in her seven matches against top 20 players after beating Belinda Bencic and Elina Svitolina. 

Kontaveit avenged her defeat against Martic in their only previous match played in Dubai last February before the lockdown. 

Kontaveit had to fight to hold her serve in the first game of the opening set at deuce and took control of the match by breaking in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. 

Martic won only 56% on her first serve in the opening set. Kontaveit came back from 0-30 down to hold serve in the seventh game before breaking for the second time in the eighth game to win the first set 6-2. 

Martic earned an early break in the first game of the second set at deuce, but Kontaveit broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. The Estonian player saved a break point before holding serve to take a 2-1 lead. Kontaveit saved five of the six break points she faced. Kontaveit broke for the second time in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Martic held serve at 2-5 down before breaking serve at 15 in the ninth game to claw her way back to 4-5. The Croatian player received a medical time-out before Kontaveit for the third time in the tenth game at love to close out the second set 6-4. 

Kontaveit will chase her second title in tomorrow’s final three years after winning in S’Hertogenbosch in 2017.

“I felt like I played a very good match today. I was quite aggressive, consistent, and I served especially well in the first set. It got a bit close in the end, but I played a good game at 5-4 and I am happy to be in the final”, said Kontaveit. 

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Camila Giorgi battles past Dayana Yastremska in late-night clash in Palermo




Italy’s Camila Giorgi battled past number 7 seed Dayana Yastremska 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 after 2 hours and 52 minutes to secure her spot in the semifinal at the Ladies Open in Palermo. 


Giorgi fended off two match points in the second set before completing her come-back in a late-night epic clash which ended at nearly 1.30 a.m. local time. Giorgi set up a semifinal against French player Fiona Ferro, who beat another Italian player Sara Errani.

Both players traded breaks in the first and fourth games of the opening set to draw level to 3-3. Giorgi saved three break points in the seventh game, but Yastremska converted her fourth chance with a service return to take a 4-3 lead. 

Yastremska served for the first set at 5-4, but Giorgi earned a break point, when the Ukrainian player made a double fault. Giorgi missed two groundstrokes and Yastremska earned a set point. Giorgi fended off four set points, but she was not able to reach a break point. Yastremska hit an ace to earn he fifth set point and converted it after Giorgi sent a forehand wide. 

The second set started with two trades of break en route to 3-3. Yastremska broke serve, as Giorgi sent a forehand wide on the third break point. Yastremska earned her first match point with an ace at 5-4. She earned a second opportunity with a forehand winner. Giorgi saved them with her powerful returns before breaking serve to draw level to 5-5. The Italian player raced out to a 4-0 lead in the tie-break and hit a backhand winner down the line to pull away to 6-3. Yastremska saved the first two set points, but Giorgi sealed the second set on her third opportunity. 

In the third set Yastremska earned two break points at 3-2, but Giorgi held serve to draw level to 3-3. Giorgi broke serve in the seventh game to take a 4-3 and held serve in the eighth game for 5-3. Giorgi earned a match point, when Yastremska netted a groundstroke, and converted it, when her return forced a wide error. 

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