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Kvitova downs Taiwan's Hsieh to reach Dubai final

26 February 2019

Belinda Bencic is hoping to emulate her Hopman Cup partner Roger Federer to trump Petra Kvitova in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships final here, Saturday.

"It was a tough one today, she really didn't give me anything for free", Kvitova said. I'm pleased with my mental focus after losing the first set.

Unseeded Belinda Bencic rallied to beat second-ranked Simona Halep 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 Thursday to reach the Dubai Championships semifinals.

The 21-year-old Swiss, who triumphed in Eastbourne and Toronto in 2015 and reached a career-high seventh in the world in 2016 before injuries stalled her progress, won 85 percent of her first-serve points as she dominated the opening set, but Svitolina turned the tables in the second.

Two-times Wimbledon champion Kvitova is one of the hardest hitters in the women's game, but found herself outwitted by Hsieh in a tense first set and the Czech's frustration showed as she made 12 unforced errors to Hsieh's one in the opener. "It was a tough first set", said Kvitova, a champion in Dubai in 2013. "She had a lot of aces (nine), I'm just happy I was able to make it back".

"I think definitely I served much, much better in Melbourne than here", Kvitova said.

The Ukrainian, who won the last two editions of the Dubai tournament, did not give up without a fight, breaking Bencic early before running away with the second set to force a decider. Yeah, it's been tough since I came from Australia and from St Petersburg.

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"I just kept trying to return balls and put the pressure on her". Second seed Kvitova, victor of the event in 2013, left nothing to chance as she crushed Viktoria Kuzmova 6-4, 6-0. She admitted that, due to the distraction of appearing in court at the trial of the person who attacked her two years ago, she had not prepared properly for the tournament.

"Of course they are very high-quality players, all of them", Bencic said.

In the second set Svitolina three breaks and compensated for the two lost games on her serve.

"I'm a bit exhausted right now, to be honest". The Swiss has finally managed to recover her condition after the struggle with her back and the wrist operation. "Hopefully I have a few hours to do something with me".

"I think from 3-5, I just completely zoomed out".

There will be no three-peat for Elina Svitolina in Dubai.