June 23, 2019 / 5:12 AM / a month ago

Tennis: Kerber loses in Mallorca semis as Bencic sets up Kenin showdown

(Reuters) - Third seed Belinda Bencic recovered from a set down to beat Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber 2-6 7-6(2) 6-4 and reach the Mallorca Open final on Saturday.

Kerber had looked increasingly impressive on the Santa Ponsa grasscourts as she warms up for the defence of her Wimbledon title but could not contain a strong Bencic comeback.

Swiss Bencic will face American Sofia Kenin who earlier did what no other player has done at the event by stopping Latvian Anastasija Sevastova reaching the final with a 6-4 4-6 6-2 win.

“This means a lot to me,” Bencic said. “I fought very hard today. She was playing great tennis and the balls were keeping very low. Tomorrow I can just play freely and enjoy it.”

Second seed Sevastova had reached all three previous finals at the tournament that became part of the WTA calendar in 2016 — winning the title once.

But 20-year-old Kenin, who reached the last 16 at the French Open this month, ended that run as she stepped up a gear in the deciding set to storm to victory and inflict only a third loss in 19 matches for Sevastova on the Santa Ponsa lawns.

Kenin has gone one stage further than last year when she reached the semi-finals as a qualifier.

Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Tony Lawrence

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