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Bencic advances to the Berlin Open final with a victory over Sakkari

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After a tough victory against Maria Sakkari on Saturday, Belinda Bencic is up in the final of the Berlin Open for the second year in a row, chasing her first grass-court trophy in seven years.

In Sunday’s final, Bencic will face both French Open champion Coco Gauff or top-seeded Ons Jabeur.

In a blistering heat wave in Berlin, Bencic took more than three hours to defeat second-seeded Sakkari 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals.

Bencic earned set point in the first set tiebreaker, but her Greek rival took the next three points to win the game.

Sakkari saved four set chances in the second set and two match points in the third until Bencic pulled through in the final. Sakkari is rated sixth, 11 places higher than Bencic, but has never competed in a grass semifinal.

After missing last year’s final to Liudmila Samsonova, the Swiss player has a chance to capture the Berlin championship this year. Bencic has a 6-8 record in championships, including 1-3 on grass, with the single lawn triumph coming at Eastbourne in 2015.

Belinda Bencic is a professional tennis player from Switzerland. She attained a career-high standing of No. 4 by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) in February 2020. Bencic has six WTA Tour singles victories, along with a gold medal just at 2020 Tokyo Olympics, plus two doubles titles.

Bencic started playing tennis at the age of 2, having been born in Switzerland to Slovak parents at a period when some other Slovak-Swiss player, Martina Hingis, was among the finest tennis players in the world. From the age of seven, her father organized for her to practice everyday with Hingis’s mother and instructor Melanie Molitor. Even by age of 16, Bencic had risen to become the global highest junior player, winning two youth Grand Slam title defences at the French Open and Wimbledon.