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.
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.
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.