CHARLESTON, SC (AP) — No. 4 seed Ons Jabeur continued her streak of success over the past two years at the Credit One Charleston Open, beating Amanda Anisimova 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 on Saturday to reach the championship.
Jabeur of Tunisia will face Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, a 6-4, 6-3 winner over Ekaterina Alexandrova.
For Jabeur, it was just more good play on the green clay surface in Charleston. She reached the semi-finals of this event last year. A week later, in a second tournament at the facility, Jabeur went one step closer to losing in the final.
Now Jabeur has another chance to claim his first victory here and his second on the WTA Tour.
“I was ready for that,” Jabeur said of Anisimova’s powerful style. “A little slow at first, but I’m glad I didn’t let it slip away.”
Jabeur had gone through his first three matches without dropping a set. But Anisimova, the 20-year-old 15th seed, jumped on Jabeur’s mistakes quickly to grab the first set. After Jabeur roared to take the second set, Anisimova opened a 3-1 lead in the decider.
Once again, Jabeur dug in to win five of the last six games and move on. Jabeur and Bencic have only played once, with the Swiss winning last year on Madrid’s red clay when Jabeur dropped out in the second set.
“I think it’s going to be an interesting match,” Jabeur said. “She plays a bit of the same style as (Anisimova), you know she hits hard. So I have to say that I prepared from the three sets today and I hope I can start well tomorrow.
In Charleston, Bencic took a 4-1 lead, but Alexandrova won the next three games to tie. It was then that Bencic called on her steady serve and solid groundstrokes to close out the set, breaking Alexandrova’s serve to take the lead before holding the serve to end it.
Bencic won the last three games in the second to close the match. She closed it with her fifth ace to reach her 14th WTA Finals. Bencic will be seeking his sixth career tour title.
Bencic said she started well and was surprised Alexandrova matched it.
“I didn’t think I did anything wrong and it was 4-4,” Bencic said. “I mean, it was easier for me to accept that than if I did something wrong. So I was like, ‘OK, I’ll keep going.’ »
The road to the final was not easy for Bencic in the opening clay court event of the year. She was two points away from elimination by China’s Xiyu Wang in her first match here before winning a second-set tiebreak and rallying for a three-set victory.
Bencic lost the first set to Spain’s No. 2 Paula Badosa in the quarterfinals and again used a second-set tiebreaker victory on her way to her first win over Badosa in four tries.
Bencic feels comfortable and confident heading into the final, planning a good dinner and a good rest. “I think it’s not going to be any worse than before the Olympic final,” she said. “It was a sleepless night.”
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