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Belinda Bencic pulled off an upset in the final of the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championship by claiming the title with a three-set victory over world number four Petra Kvitova.
The Swiss star went into the tournament unseeded but landed her first WTA title in over three years with a 6-3 1-6 6-2 victory on Saturday. Bencic had to do it the hard way in Dubai as she downed former world number one Simona Halep and two-time defending champion Elina Svitolina on her way to the final.
“It’s incredible. I mean, I still cannot believe it,” said Bencic. “So many times I was close to defeat. It’s unbelievable that I ended up winning this.”
Bencic reached a career-high seven in the WTA rankings but is now the world number 45 after a number of injury problems. Bencic overcame four players ranked in the top 10 in Dubai, having also beaten Aryna Sabalenka, and could be set for a big year as she appears to be fully fit and back in form. She added:
“I’m so happy about the consistency that I could back up my wins. After playing a tough match, I could mentally win another one. It’s very difficult.”
Bencic is 67.00 to win the French Open outright and 41.00 to win Wimbledon.
Kvitova will have been encouraged by her run to the final despite her defeat after admitting concerns over fatigue earlier in the week.
The Czech star said she had recovered from her Australian Open final loss to Naomi Osaka in the build-up to the Dubai final and is 6.00 to claim a third Wimbledon crown this summer.