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Bencic saves championship points to score tour-leading 12th win & second title of 2023

The Swiss scored her first win over Samsonova in four meetings and now has eight WTA singles titles to her name

Switzerland's Belinda Bencic celebrates winning during her second round match at the 2023 Australian Open Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic celebrates winning during her second round match at the 2023 Australian Open Image Credit: AI/Reuters/Panoramic

During the second set of Sunday’s final in Abu Dhabi, Belinda Bencic was one point away from defeat three times against Russia’s Liudmila Samsonova.

The Swiss saved each of those three championship points and pulled out the second set in a tiebreaker before coming back to win in three sets 1-6, 7-6(8), 6-4 in two hours and 48 minutes.

Samsonova had beaten Bencic in all their three previous encounters on the tour, which made the win even sweeter for Bencic.

“It’s been a really tight match, and I’m happy to turn these match points around,” Bencic said after her win as quoted by the WTA Tour. “I just really tried hanging in there and scramble for every point, and just do my best. I’m really happy to walk away with the title here and I think I played some really good matches, but they were also tough. I proved to myself that I can really fight hard and just stay in the matches and somehow turn it around.”

The win was Bencic’s second title of the season, after Adelaide in January, and her 12th match win of the season – more than any other player on the tour (Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka is second on the list with 11 victories). It also marked the eighth WTA singles title of her career.

Bencic, who has been working with former ATP pro Dmitry Tursunov as her coach over the past few months, will now aim to continue her winning streak in Doha, where she is seeded seventh.

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