On the back of three three-set wins over Top 10 players, in Dubai this week, Belinda Bencic is into a WTA Premier 5 final for the first time since her breakthrough title at the 2015 Rogers Cup.
With her 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (3) semifinal win over Elina Svitolina, Bencic is set to play Petra Kvitova for the championship—and to be put back on the map as a top player.
The Swiss 21-year-old got through each of her first two rounds in straight sets, against Lucie Hradecka and Stefanie Voegele, but then Aryna Sabalenka complicated things by holding six match points.
In a stunning performance, Bencic erased them all, winning 9-7 in a third-set tiebreak to make the quarterfinals.
Six match points saved...— Tennis Channel (@TennisChannel) February 20, 2019
One match point converted.
Belinda Bencic defeats Sabalenka 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7) pic.twitter.com/v8IkdS01Rs
Against Simona Halep the next day, Bencic had to recover from losing the first set, defeating the world No. 2, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
In the semifinals, Bencic went down 5-3 in the third set but fought back to win another deciding tiebreaker over 2017 and 2018 Dubai champion Elina Svitolina. With the help of a gorgeous lob, Bencic won the breaker, 7-3, for a spot in the final.
Kvitova has a 3-0 career record versus Bencic, including a 6-1, 6-4 win at this year's Australian Open. Whatever the next result, this week is definitely one that Bencic will remember as she seeks to return to the Top 20.