The Swiss who was the pre-match favorite started the match slowly with being breaked in 2nd game despite having her own chance to take the lead within opponent's serve in the opening game. Samsonova was playing flawlessly since that time, dominating Bencic in whole the 1st set, taking it easily 6-1. The world's number 9 needed to turn over the fates of this match in second set and went on the front foot with a break in 4th game. The Swiss did not managed to close out the set within own serve in 9th game though, and set was needed to be decided in tiebreak.
Here came the big chance for Samsonova, who moved into the lead in the decisive stages of tiebreak and had three match points to close the match - one within own serve. Bencic defended all of them really well and got out of nowhere to steal the set after a horrific tiebreak winning it 10-8. Whole the set took as long as 83 minutes.
Bencic used the momentum and gained the first break in the deciding set. Samsonova broke back game after, but Bencic regained her advantage in 5th game, caring for it till the end, facing no breakpoints in all her following service games. The Russian seemed to face some injury issue, calling up the medical time-out after 7 games of the deciding set. It has not discouraged the Swiss though, as she crossed the line with a score 1-6 7-6 6-4.
It's a wonderful season for Bencic so far, as she won 13 out of 15 matches played so far, taking two WTA 500 titles on the road, facing just two loses against Iga Swiatek in United Cup and against Aryna Sabalenka in Australian Open, who was unbeatable at that time in Melbourne. The 2020 Olympic Champion is 3rd in WTA race and playing with this level of consistency, she is surely the force to reckon for the biggest things to play for in the rest of the season.
Liudmila Samsonova can be dissapointed for sure after not taking any of the chances created in the tiebreak of 2nd set. Despite the wasted opportunity, the Russian can be proud of her successful week in Abu Dhabi, which moves her into career's best 15th place on Monday's WTA ranking list.