HUA HIN, Thailand - Comeback kid Belinda Bencic has set up a clash against the No.4 seed Hsieh Su-Wei in the final of the EA Hua Hin Championship, a WTA 125K event.
20-year-old Bencic scored her biggest victory of the tournament so far to upset No.6 seed Ana Bogdan, edging past 7-6(3), 6-4 to reach the final.
Bencic started her Hua Hin campaign with a solid win over Mexican qualifier Giuliana Olmos, 6-2, 6-1, then dodged a meeting with the top seed after Ksenia Lykina took down Wang Qiang. The Swiss battled past Lykina 6-2, 6-4, then dropped her first set of the tournament against Vitalia Diatchenko in the quarterfinals. Bencic rallied back to win 0-6, 6-4, 6-2 and reach the semifinals.
Bencic and Bodgan created nine break chances in total during the tug-of-war opening set; Bencic twice broke first to gain an early lead, but both times Bogdan broke straight back to force the tiebreaker. Bencic reeled off four points in a row to get ahead and close out the tight first set.
The second set was much more comfortably won by the Swiss - she broke early to gain a 2-1 lead, then held onto it for much of the set. Despite a late break from Bogdan, Bencic stayed on course and broke straight back to make her way into the Hua Hin final.
Awaiting across the net will be No.4 seed Hsieh, who took down Viktorija Golubic in a tight 6-3, 7-6(4) to reach the championship match.
Hsieh overcame some tough battles to reach the Hua Hin final without dropping a set. She opened with a close 7-5, 6-3 victory against Wang Yafan, then eased past Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-1. In the quarterfinals, Hsieh weathered a late comeback bid from Barbara Haas to advance 6-1, 7-5 and bring up the Golubic battle in the semifinals.
After trading breaks to start the match, Hsieh and Golubic stayed toe to toe for much of the opening set until Hsieh finally broke through at 5-3 to put away the set.
The second set was much more complicated; both players weathered six breaks of serve in total in the first half of the set, and kept the other under plenty of pressure as they took the last five games to deuce in the second half of the set. Hsieh finally edged through in the tiebreak, where she reeled off four points in a row to take the lead and hold on to close out the match after just under two hours.
Hsieh and Bencic have played just once in their careers, at Tianjin in 2014 where Bencic emerged victorious 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.