Semifinal wrap: Bencic, Jabeur set up Charleston championship clash

Semifinal wrap: Bencic, Jabeur set up Charleston championship clash

Belinda Bencic and Ons Jabeur will do battle for the Charleston Open crown come Sunday.

The Olympic champion Bencic, seeded No. 10 at the Credit One Charleston Open, continued her dream week on Daniel Island with a 6-4 6-3 triumph over Ekaterina Alexandrova in Saturday’s first semifinal.

The 25-year-old Swiss was later joined in the final by No. 4 seed Jabeur, who tased a series of comebacks against American No. 15 Amanda Anisimova to win 2-6 6-1 6-4. Jabeur battled from a set down, and also trailed by 1-3 in the final set.

The Tunisian ranked No. 10 in the world will go for her second and biggest career title.

Bencic, meanwhile, was playing in her third career clay court semifinal, having made the final four here in 2014, as well as at Madrid in 2019.

She seeks her sixth career title in what will be her 14th final.

“I’m really happy with the match and how I could close it out,” Bencic said on Tennis Channel. “I felt good moving on court today.”

She added: “I’m just so happy to be playing in the final. I just want to enjoy today and not think about it too much. I know what I have to do for tomorrow.”

While Bencic is into the singles final, she still has a doubles semifinal to play later on Saturday. She and partner Anhelina Kalinina meet Andreja Klepac and Magda Linette, who won their quarterfinal earlier on Saturday.

Updated Draws and Order of Play

 

Bencic: Road to final includes wins over Keys, Badosa

Bencic jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first set in cooler and windy conditions. Alexandrova, who had dropped just one set on her way to the semifinals, rallied for 4-4, but the world No. 21 didn’t panic. She broke again and then served out the first set.

She would keep that momentum into set two.

“It was hard because I played really good to get up 4-1, but then I didn’t think I did anything wrong and it was 4-4,” Bencic reflected. “I was just like, ‘Okay, I’m just going to keep going. If she’s going to play like this, then she deserves to win.’ But I was hoping that she wouldn’t have the whole match like the streak of great shots and winners, so yeah, just tried to hang in there and just continued to play the same thing.”

Bencic’s run to the final includes wins over up-and-coming teen Linda Fruhvirtova, 2019 champion Madison Keys, No. 2 seed Paula Badosa and now a red-hot Alexandrova.

Jabeur doesn’t hit ‘panic’ button vs. Anisimova

Coming into the semifinals, Jabeur had not dropped a set all week in wins over Charleston’s Emma Navarro, Irina-Camelia Begu and Anhelina Kalinina, winning each of those matches by a 6-3 6-2 scoreline.

But Anisimova offered Jabeur the stiffest test of the week, jumping out to a first set win before Jabeur said she could get used to the weight of the American’s groundstrokes.

Down 1-3 and love-40 serving, Jabeur didn’t panic, either, and relied on her steady tennis to work her back in. She had been a semifinalist here last year, while also making the final of the smaller-level WTA 250 that was held here the week after.

“I’m very happy, really, that I’m back in the ‘other’ final,” Jabeur said. “She’s a great fighter, and it’s never easy to play those kind of players. But I was ready for this. I’m glad I didn’t let it slip away from me, especially the second set and the third set.”

Anisimova, for her part, walks away with the first semifinal at a U.S. event in her career.

The doubles final featuring Lucie Hradecka and Sania Mirza against No. 4 seeds Andreja Klepac and Magda Linette will kick off at 11am, followed by the singles final not before 1:30pm.

Amanda Anisimova Belinda Bencic Charleston EKATERINA ALEXANDROVA Ons Jabeur