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Thursday, February 9, 2023

German Open: Belinda Bencic Overcomes Maria Sakkari To Reach Final

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Berlin, June 18 (IANS) Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic reached the final of the German Open after beating Maria Sakkari of Greece 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-4 in a gruelling semifinal, here on Saturday.

With this win, Bencic is now 4-2 lifetime against Top-10 players on grass, as she moves into the fifth grass-court final of her career. She seeks her second grass-court title, with her first coming at Eastbourne in 2015.

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The 25-year-old, who lost to Liudmila Samsonova in last year’s Berlin final, was dominant behind her backhand, of which she had 19 of her 41 winners during the 3 hours and 7 minutes long match.

Last year’s Olympic gold medallist Bencic is now 1-1 against Sakkari at the tour level. Sakkari had previously topped the Swiss player in the 2020 St. Petersburg quarterfinals on indoor hard court.

Bencic held a set point at 6-5 in the first-set tiebreak, but Sakkari erased that chance. The Greek then fired a backhand winner to garner her first set point at 7-6. A return winner off the net cord gave Sakkari the first set after 72 topsy-turvy minutes.

In the second set, though, Bencic grabbed the lead with aplomb, holding at love for 5-4 with three straight backhand winners followed by an ace. Bencic then converted her fifth break point of the next game with a return winner, leveling the match.

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For the second set in a row, there were no breaks through 5-4 as the third set stayed closely contested. But once again, Bencic took her chance in the tenth game, converting her third match point by following up a strong backhand with a putaway winner.

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The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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