DUBAI, December 18, 2017
Belinda Bencic continued her good run of form and captured her third consecutive title, winning the 20th edition of the $100,000 Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge in Dubai. The 20-year-old from Switzerland benefited from the retirement of Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia, leading 6-4 in the final, held at the Habtoor Grand Beach Resort and Spa on Saturday.
“I just felt my groin in the previous match, like two points before the finish,” Tomljanovic told. “I gave it a good shot by turning up for the final, but every time I moved I felt a sharp pain and I just couldn’t continue. I am tired of playing with pain all the time. I can only hope that this is a something of a small injury and does not continue,”
Bencic had come to Dubai with back-to-back $125,000 ITF Women’s titles in November in Taipei and Hua Hin.
“I am very happy that I have achieved a first today while finishing the year on a winning note. Coming here I was totally focused on winning this one and signing off so that I can now continue my preparations for next season,” said Bencic, who earned 150 WTA ranking points.
— Belinda Bencic (@BelindaBencic) 17. Dezember 2017
“No doubt, this is a great occasion for me and my career and hopefully I will have many more such ends in the future,” the World No. 98 added.
Bencic, who rose to a career high of World No. 7 in the second half of February last year, fell outside the top-100 earlier in 2017 due to lop-sided results. She lifted four trophies later this season.
Bencic will stay in Dubai for the next couple of days in order to get ready for the start of the new season. The Flawil native will team up with 18-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer for the Mastercard Hopman Cup in Perth.