Mon, Feb 25, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Hsieh and Strycova romp to Dubai title

BETTER AND BETTER:Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova defeated Lucie Hradecka and Ekaterina Makarova 6-4, 6-4; Belinda Bencic waltzed to a 6-2, 1-6, 6-2 win over Petra Kvitova

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with Reuters, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic wins the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship final against the Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

Third seeds Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova on Saturday claimed their first title of the season in the doubles final at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, while unseeded Belinda Bencic outlasted second seed Petra Kvitova in the singles final.

Hsieh and Strycova defeated seventh seeds Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic and Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 6-4, 6-4 in 1 hour, 20 minutes to claim their second title as a duo after their victory in Indian Wells, California, last year.

The Taiwanese-Czech pairing saved two of six break points and converted six of 12, winning 68 percent of points on their first serve as they completed their third consecutive victory over a seeded duo in Dubai.

“I think we were playing really, really good, high level, especially second set when we were leading 4-1. Until 4-1, 40-love, we didn’t kind of miss any ball. We had the chemistry on court. We know exactly what to do,” Strycova told the WTA Web site. “This game I had easy volley there to finish it to 5-1. Didn’t make it. Su-wei was at the net when it was 4-all. I was serving, and she helped me there three times. That helped us a lot to have the confidence again.”

“I’m happy to play together. We always enjoy,” Hsieh said. “I mean, last week [at the Qatar Open] was tough, but I was very positive. I don’t really worry about it. We tried really hard this week to improve little bit than last week. We do better and better. It is very good combination what we do. We’re covering. We are running everywhere — was pretty fun.”

In the singles final, Belinda Bencic of Switzerland ended a four-year title drought with a 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 victory over Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic.

Victory gave Bencic, 21, her first win over second seed Kvitova, who had breezed past her in straight sets in the third round of the Australian Open last month.

The win was also Bencic’s fourth win over a top-10 player this week after getting past Aryna Sabalenka, Simona Halep and Elina Svitolina in the previous rounds.

“It’s unbelievable. It’s incredible. I mean, I still cannot believe it,” Bencic told reporters after clinching her first title since she won the Canadian Open in Toronto in 2015. “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.”

Kvitova continued to struggle with her rhythm, as she had during the course of the tournament, hitting only 53 percent of first serves on target in the opening set. She also produced seven double faults.

“I think I played better in Melbourne,” Kvitova said. “I think definitely I served much, much better in Melbourne than here. [During the] whole tournament, I was fighting with my serve. It wasn’t really great. I played a lot from the second serve.”

Bencic took the first set with a searing backhand volley that got the crowd on their feet, finally winning a set against the world No. 4 in their fourth meeting.

Kvitova stepped up her game in the second to break Bencic three times, and bagged the set with some powerful forehand returns and by coming up to the net.

However, it was Bencic who won the mental battle in the third set by breaking Kvitova at 1-1 before winning another break point at 4-2 to serve for the match.

Kvitova’s return on match point went long, a decision that was reviewed, to give Bencic the win in 1 hour, 43 minutes. She is the second Swiss player to win the tournament after Martina Hingis won the inaugural edition in 2001.

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