Bencic reaches second final of year in Abu Dhabi

Belinda Bencic advanced to her second final of the year on Saturday, beating Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia in straight sets.

The Swiss runner-up took a 6-2, 6-3 win to register her 11th win in 2023, tying Australian Open champion Arina Sobolenko for most tour wins.

Olympic champion Bencic won the Adelaide International title last month, marking her seventh career WTA singles title.

“The work we are doing on the training court is already making itself felt. I didn’t expect things to go so fast, but that doesn’t mean we have to slow down,” Bencic said after her 90-minute win.

It took Haddad Maia a total of seven hours and 43 minutes to win three of three sets en route to the last four, while Bencic had only been on the court for three hours and 20 minutes in previous rounds.

World No. 9 Bencic will take on Lyudmila Samsonova in Sunday’s championship game to break the record of 3-0 defeats against the powerful Russian chess player.

World No. 19 Samsonova beat China’s Zheng Qinwen 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 in two hours and 19 minutes in her semi-final.

No. 8 seed Samsonova won three titles last season, including one in Tokyo where she defeated Zheng in the final.

On Saturday Samsonova did 10 aces and Zheng did 15 aces.

The 24-year-old Russian won her first career title on Berlin grass in 2021, defeating Bencic in the final.

dj / mv


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