Belinda Bencic has made it through to a second consecutive German Open final after getting the better of Maria Sakkari 6-7(6) 6-4 6-4 in a real battle of the wills encounter.
The eighth seed recovered from a set down to emerge victorious in a gruelling contest that lasted three hours and seven minutes.
Speaking to Amazon Prime after the match, Bencic reflected: “I really don’t know how it happened. I mean, it was such an even match and we really gave it all. We didn’t give each other any presents.
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“And it was really long! We fought our best and the crowd was really electric, so thank you very much for being so into it.
“Maria played really well – she’s a top player and she has played so many grand slam semi-finals so she knows how to go deep. She didn’t give me anything.”
After losing the 2021 final to Liudmula Samsonova, Bencic was asked what she will do different this year when she meets either Ons Jabeur or Coco Gauff in Sunday’s final.
Bencic responded: “The difference is that I can turn it around and be the winner, but I’m really happy about today first of all.
“I’m really excited to be in the final, I didn’t imagine about playing two finals in a row here in Berlin, so I must really like it here.”
The Swiss had to dig deep after surrendering a set point at 6-5 in the first-set tie-break as the second seed Sakkari recovered with a thrilling backhand winner before hitting a return winner off the netcord.
Bencic wasn’t going to be denied, however, and she took control of the second set by converting a fifth break point with a return winner as she took the match into a decisive third set.
She held her nerve, ending the stalemate in the 10th game by converting her third match point, followed by a strong backhand with a put-away winner.
In the other semi-final Ons Jabeur beat Coco Gauff 7-6(4), 6-2 to join Bencic in the final.
After an early exchange of breaks, a tie-break was needed to settle the first set. Jabeur quickly led 6-2 before Gauff erased two set points, but the Tunisian star finished with a strong ace to take the opener.
Jabeur raced into a 5-1 lead in the second; the world No. 4 didn’t allow it to get as tight as the first, winning 6-2 to close the match in straight sets and set up a final tie with Bencic.
Jabeur - who had lost three of her four previous meetings against Gauff, had the match wrapped up in 1 hour and 17 minutes in their first grass-court encounter.
The top seed is looking to land her second grass-court title, after becoming the first Arab woman to win a Hologic WTA Tour singles title last year, as she claimed the trophy on the Birmingham lawns.
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