Bencic reaches Berlin Open final with win over Sakkari

Sports

BERLIN (AP) — Belinda Bencic is back in the final of the Berlin Open for the second straight year in her quest for a first grass-court title in seven years after a hard-fought win over Maria Sakkari on Saturday.

Bencic will play either French Open finalist Coco Gauff or top-seeded Ons Jabeur in Sunday’s final.

Playing amid a sweltering heat wave in the German capital, Bencic needed more than three hours to beat second-seeded Sakkari 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-4 in their semifinal match.

Bencic had set point in the first-set tiebreaker before her Greek opponent won the next three points to take the set.

The second set and decider were also closely contested, with Sakkari saving four set points in the second and two match points in the third before Bencic broke through. Sakkari is ranked sixth, 11 places above Bencic, but had never played a grass semifinal before.

The Swiss player has a chance to win the Berlin title after losing last year’s final to Liudmila Samsonova. Olympic gold medalist Bencic has a 6-8 record in finals including 1-3 on grass, with the lone grass title coming in Eastbourne in 2015.

___

More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports