Tennis: Bencic downs Kerber to set up Mallorca final with Kenin

Bencic in action against Amanda Anisimova of the US.
Bencic in action against Amanda Anisimova of the US.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

PALMA, Spain (AFP) - Switzerland's Belinda Bencic battled back from a set down to beat reigning Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber and reach the final of the WTA event in Mallorca on Saturday (June 22).

World number 13 Bencic edged out top seed Kerber 2-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 to set up a clash with seventh seed Sofia Kenin.

The 22-year-old will be playing in her second final of the season at the grass-court tournament, having won the third WTA title of her career at Dubai in February.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Kerber at least got some solid match practice on grass under her belt before defending her title at Wimbledon, which starts on July 1.

The German has endured a difficult year - being thrashed by the unheralded Danielle Collins at the Australian Open, losing her only 2019 final to Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu at Indian Wells, before suffering a first-round exit against Anastasia Potapova at Roland Garros.

Earlier on Saturday, American youngster Kenin, who stunned Serena Williams at the French Open earlier this month, continued her strong form by beating Anastasija Sevastova.

The 20-year-old, who won her maiden WTA title in Hobart in January, beat Latvian second seed Sevastova 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

Kenin, ranked 30th in the world, will face Bencic for the first time on Sunday.

It will be Kenin's third final of the season, having also finished runner-up to Wang Yafan in Acapulco in March.