Swiss world No.45 Belinda Bencic wrapped up a perfect week at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships by upsetting second seed Petra Kvitova in the final, her fourth straight Top 10 opponent.
Following thrilling three-set victories over Aryna Sabalenka, Simona Halep and twice defending champion Elina Svitolina, the 21-year-old Bencic pulled off another three-set upset, overcoming the 2013 Dubai champion Kvitova 6-3 1-6 6-2. This is not the first time that Bencic has claimed so many notable scalps en route to a Premier 5 title — as an 18-year-old at the 2015 Rogers Cup, the Swiss stunned four out of Top 6 players at the time: Caroline Wozniacki, Ana Ivanovic, Serena Williams and Simona Halep.
Bencic won eight of the first nine points of this year’s Dubai final match, setting the tone of the first set which she relatively comfortably won. In all her three previous encounters with Kvitova, Bencic had lost in straight sets, so this was the first set she’s ever taken from the Czech.
The second-seeded Kvitova raced through the second set, quickly going 4-0 up and breaking Bencic once more in the seventh game for complete dominance. The underdog was not crushed, though, as she broke Kvitova’s serve for a 3-1 lead in the decider and later built on it with another break to confidently march to the Dubai title and generous $520,615 in prize money.
Bencic’s boyfriend and fitness trainer Martin Hromkovic was by her side all week.
Wearing the Nike Winter Maria Slam Tank and Nike Winter Maria Premier Skirt, the Swiss won her third WTA title and will now rise to No.23 in the rankings, while her career-high was No.7, reached in February 2016.