Brilliant Bencic outlasts Kvitova to complete week of Dubai upsets

Arnold Nichols
February 27, 2019

Petra Kvitová failed to secure a second title in Dubai on Saturday, losing 3:6, 6:1, 2:6 to Switzerland's Belinda Bencic in the final.

That was it! Bencic held her serve to win the match 6-3 1-6 6-2 and conquer her 3rd and most important career title.

Bencic took the first set with a searing backhand volley that got the crowd on their feet, finally winning a set against the world number four in their fourth meeting.

Bencic, who has endured an injury-plagued career, beat four players inside the top 10 on her way to clinching the title in Dubai. As Kvitova double-faulted that gave rise to a set point to Bencic, without wasting any time the Swiss slammed a breathtaking backhand victor and sealed the opening first 6-3.

"(During the) whole tournament I was fighting with my serve. "It was really seeing who I play first round".

For Kvitova, her runner-up trophy felt like the winners' trophy to her because she came to Dubai so mentally drained and physically struggling, yet managed to fight through three three-setters on her way to the final, and stretched Bencic to a decider before succumbing.

"She played great, it was a tough one today for sure", Kvitova said.

A slight scare followed when Kvitova broke back, yet it proved a brief respite as a double-fault offered up a first set point that Bencic clinically dispatched.

It was an advantage Bencic could not claw back and a couple of wicked returns saw Kvitova level the match at one set apiece.

'I think definitely I served much, much better in Melbourne than here. I think people are very surprised about this, but I think the first match against Lucie Hradecka was the most important because, of course, the first round it is never easy and I had some set points against me. She had two-time defending champion Elina Svitolina serve for the match against her in the semis but turned things around to snap the Ukrainian's winning streak in Dubai. "I feel great! I don't know. he head just got me through". I'm glad that I was able to came back in the second. "It was a very exhausting week", Kvitova said. "He just kept hitting a lot of balls".

"I'm happy that she believes now in this, what we have done, like she was a child, like she was a junior, and now she's coming back in her tennis, with the fitness, the hard work she has done with Martin". Hsieh also contested the 2018 final with Peng Shuai, and it was her first title together with Strycova since they won Indian Wells in March 2018.

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