Belinda Bencic is one win away from a second title in as many months this season after reaching the final of the WTA event in Abu Dhabi.
The Swiss Tokyo gold medalist dispatched Maria Haddad-Maia 6-2, 6-3 in a Saturday semi-final in the Emirati capital and will aim to match her January Adelaide trophy when she takes on Liudmila Samsonova, a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 winner over Zheng Qinwen.
Reaching the Sunday final puts Bencic ninth-ranked Bencic into a tie for the most wins this season, sharing 11 with Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka.
“The work we’re putting in on the practice court is showing already,” the winner said.
“I didn’t expect it to go so fast, but that doesn’t mean we have to slow down.”
Bencic ended a win streak against Top 10 opponents for Brazil’s Haddad-Maia, who had won her last six against the elite; her latest came in the quarter-finals with a defeat of Melbourne finalist .
Top 10 opponents, including her upset of Wimbledon champion and Australian Open finalist Elena Rybakina in Friday’s quarter-finals.