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Schmiedlova upsets Bencic to reach final

11 January 2019, by Leigh Rogers

Anna Karolina Schmiedlova is into the Hobart International final.

The 24-year-old Slovakian upset Belinda Bencic in today’s semifinals, posting a hard-fought 7-6(2) 4-6 6-2 win.

“I still can’t believe it. I didn’t expect it at all, especially today against Belinda. I’ve known her since I was a child, we practice together sometimes and she’s a really good friend of mine. It wasn’t an easy match, she’s a great player,” Schmiedlova said.

“It’s a really great feeling to win today.”

Schmiedlova raced to a 4-2 lead in the opening set. Yet that momentum proved shortlived, with the former world No.7 recovering to win the next three games to get the chance to serve for the set.

Two double faults and a framed forehand undid Bencic’s hard work, allowing Schmiedlova to level.

Little separated the players in the opening set, but it was Schmiedlova’s more aggressive approach that proved most effective. Hitting 18 winners to Bencic’s nine for the set, it was Schmiedlova who took control in the deciding tiebreak.

Bencic lifted in the second set, powering to a 5-1 lead. Yet Schmiedlova kept fighting, winning the next three games to keep the pressure on her 21-year-old opponent.

Despite growing visibly frustrated, Bencic managed to settle and broke Schmiedlova to force a deciding set.

The steely Schmiedlova took control in the deciding set, closing out an impressive victory in two hours and 30 minutes.

“I served a little better and I tried to be focused on every point. I think the third set was really good from my side,” Schmiedlova said.

The world No.77 admitted even she was surprised with her run this week.

“I came here not really happy about my game,” she said.

“To be in the final, I wouldn’t (expect) that.”

Schmiedlova is now one win away from claiming her fourth WTA singles title.

“I’m really happy I can be in the final,” she said.

“I think I have a chance… it would be really great (to win).”