Belinda Bencic backed up her January trophy from Adelaide as the Swiss stormed to a 1-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4 comeback win over Liudmila Samsonova on Sunday in the Abu Dhabi final.

The reigning Olympic champion needed more than two and three-quarter hours to complete her fightback, as she saved three match points.

“It was a very tight match,” the winner said. “I want to congratulate Liudmila, she was playing amazing.

“I’m really motivated and excited for what’s to come.”

Bencic overcame 10 aces from her opponent and saved five of the nine break points she faced in the hardcourt battle; it was her first win in the series after three defeats.

The second seed now owns eight WTA titles and leads the Tour in season match wins with 12, one more than Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka..

Bencic saved herself from a straight-set shock as she nullified three Samsonova match-winning chances.

The loss was the first in a final for Samsonova, who had a perfect 4-0 record.

“It was a great battle,”Bencic said, telling Samsonova: “I’m happy to finally beat you after losing to you three times in 2021.”


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