Belinda Bencic (born 10 March 1997) is a Swiss tennis player, currently ranked World No. 11. Bencic has won two singles and two doubles titles on the WTA tour, as well as two singles and two doubles titles on the ITF circuit in her career.
In 2012, Bencic made her debut for the Switzerland Fed Cup team, and in 2013 won the French Open and Wimbledon girls' singles titles.She has also been a finalist in three girls' doubles tournaments, at the US Open in 2012 and 2013, as well as at Wimbledon in 2012. Bencic's run to the quarterfinals at the 2014 US Open, defeating two top-ten players, including former world No. 1 Jelena Janković along the way, propelled her into the top 40 for the first time in her career.In 2015, Bencic won her first title at the Aegon International, beating Agnieszka Radwańska in the final as well as breaking into the top 20. She won the biggest title of her career at the Rogers Cup, beating four top-ten players: Caroline Wozniacki, Ana Ivanovic, world No. 1, Serena Williams, and Simona Halep en route.
Bencic is coached by her father, who emigrated to Switzerland from Czechoslovakia in 1968, and on occasion by Melanie Molitor, the mother of fellow Swiss tennis player Martina Hingis.
Breakthrough, top 50, and first Grand Slam quarterfinal
Bencic started her season in Hobart with an exhibition match against fellow Swiss and former world No. 1, Martina Hingis, but lost in three sets. She next headed to Melbourne for the Australian Open, making it through three rounds of qualifying to earn her first main draw appearance at a Grand Slam tournament, defeating top seed in qualifying and world No. 106 Sharon Fichman in the process.Her opponent in the first round was veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm, making this a meeting between the oldest and second-youngest players in the main draw. Bencic upset the former world No. 4 and former Australian Open semifinalist in three sets to seal victory on her Grand Slam debut.Her opponent in round two was the fourth seed and eventual tournament champion Li Na, to whom she lost in straight sets.In spite of the outcome, as a result of her reaching the second round at her maiden Grand Slam, Bencic was guaranteed to enter the world's top 150 for the first time on 27 January 2014.She ultimately made it to number 146 in the world.
Following Australia, Bencic played in qualifying for the 2014 PTT Pattaya Open, defeating third seed Zarina Diyas in the first round, but losing to fifth seed Alla Kudryavtseva in the final qualifying round.Despite not having made the main draw, she rose to world No. 139 the following week.
In February, Bencic was nominated for the Swiss Fed Cup team for their World Group II tie against France. She won both her singles matches in straight sets, defeating Alizé Cornetand Virginie Razzano, but lost the decisive fifth rubber in doubles, partnering Timea Bacsinszky, to Cornet and Kristina Mladenovic. At the end of the month, Bencic failed to qualify for the Abierto Mexicano Telcel.
Bencic was granted a wildcard for the 2014 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, but lost in the first round to British qualifier Heather Watson in straight sets.The appearance at Indian Wells, however, helped Bencic continue her rise up the rankings, as she reached a career high number 137.
At the 2014 Family Circle Cup, Bencic made it through the two qualifying rounds to earn a place in the main draw. In the first round, she had a remarkable win over tenth seed Maria Kirilenko, who she said she admired, "when I was younger, I had a poster on my wall of her, so it is very nice to win against her". She continued her streak at the tournament by defeating Marina Erakovic in the second round, and in the third round upset the highest-ranked teenager in the world, Elina Svitolina, in three sets, to reach her first WTA Tour quarterfinal. Bencic then achieved the biggest win of her career by defeating Sara Errani, the third seed and 2012 French Open finalist, on the green clay of Charleston. In the semifinals, Bencic lost to Jana Čepelová, who had beaten Serena Williams in the second round, in a third-set tiebreaker.Her long run in the tournament guaranteed her a place in the top 100 of the world rankings,peaking at world No. 91, a position which could almost grant her a place in the main draw of the 2014 French Open.
Later in April, Bencic played for Switzerland in their Fed Cup World Group II play-off, helping them to a 4–1 win over Brazil by winning one of her two singles rubbers and the dead doubles rubber with Viktorija Golubic.
In May, Bencic qualified for the main the draw at the 2014 Mutua Madrid Open, where she lost to world No. 1, Serena Williams, in straight sets. The next week she once again qualified for the main draw at the 2014 Internazionali BNL d'Italia. In the opening round, she racked up another win over a top-25 player, Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.In the second round, she played 12th seed Flavia Pennetta, losing in three sets. At the 2014 Nürnberger Versicherungscup, Bencic lost in the first round in straight sets to Mona Barthel.
Ranked 80th in the world, Bencic was granted a direct acceptance into the main draw of the 2014 French Open – Women's Singles, losing to Venus Williams in the first round in straight sets.
Bencic began her grass-court season at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham, winning her first-round match in straight sets over Donna Vekić, but losing to defending champion Daniela Hantuchová in the second round. She came through three rounds of qualifying for the 2014 Aegon International in Eastbourne, but lost to British wildcard Johanna Konta in the first round.At Wimbledon, she reached the third round of singles with wins over Magdaléna Rybáriková and Victoria Duval, before losing to Simona Halep in straight sets. Partnering Martin Kližan, she also reached the third round of mixed doubles,but was less successful in women's doubles, losing to eventual runners-up Tímea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic with Bulgarian partner Tsvetana Pironkova in the second round.
Bencic's summer hardcourt season got off to a slow start, losing in the first round of the İstanbul Cup to eventual champion Caroline Wozniacki without winning a single game.She then received a wildcard for the Premier 5 tournament in Cincinnati, but once again lost her opening match, this time to Karin Knapp, also in straight sets. In New Haven, she won three back-to-back matches to qualify,but lost to Barbora Záhlavová-Strýcová in the first round in three sets having faced 39 break points in the match.
At the US Open, Bencic defeated Belgian Yanina Wickmayer in straight sets on her US Open debut,followed by a win over 31st seed Kurumi Nara in three sets. In the third and fourth rounds respectively, Bencic recorded the first top-10 wins of her career, defeating world No. 7 Angelique Kerber of Germany,followed by a win over former world No. 1 and ninth seed Jelena Janković in straight sets to become the youngest US Open quarterfinalist since her compatriot Martina Hingis in 1997. Her run was ended by unseeded Peng Shuai of China,but, as a result of her run to the last eight, Bencic entered the world's top 40 for the first time.
Bencic's first tournament after the US Open was the 2014 Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo where she beat Svetlana Kuznetsova in the first roundbefore losing in three sets to Lucie Šafářová. She also played doubles with Martina Hingis at the event, but the pair lost in the quarterfinals to Cara Black and Sania Mirza.Bencic then qualified for Beijing, losing to Ana Ivanovic in the first round. In her last tournament of 2014, Bencic reached her first WTA tour final in Tianjin, where she lost in straight sets to fellow first-time finalist Alison Riske.
On 17 November 2014, Bencic was named the WTA's Newcomer of the Year, receiving 56 out of a possible 58 media votes as well as 46% of the public fan vote. She ended the year ranked world No. 33.
First WTA title and first Premier 5 title
Bencic started her 2015 campaign in poor form, winning only three games each in first-round losses to Daria Gavrilova in Sydney and Julia Görges at the Australian Open.After Switzerland's Fed Cup match in Sweden, Bencic then played at the Diamond Games in Antwerp, where she lost a tough three-set match to Alizé Cornet despite winning the first set comfortably.
Bencic earned her first WTA tour win of the year in Dubai over Karin Knapp, but lost heavily to Venus Williams,and in Doha she failed to qualify.She turned her form around in both Indian Wells and Miami, where she reached fourth round at both events. At Indian Wells, she beat Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets for her first win over a top-5 player,but lost to Jelena Janković, despite leading by a break in the third set.In Miami, she lost to Sloane Stephens in straight sets.
In the clay court season, Bencic played six tournaments, but won just three matches.A bit surprisingly three losses came against qualifiers. In Prague, Bencic won her first doubles title alongside Kateřina Siniaková.Fortunately, one of these three wins on clay came at the French Open, where she beat Daniela Hantuchová, but she lost in the next round to Madison Keys in straight sets.
Bencic's grass-court season began at the Topshelf Open in the Netherlands, where she reached her second final. After saving three match points against Kristina Mladenovic,she defeated second seed Jelena Janković in straights in the semifinal. In the final, Bencic lost in straight sets to Camila Giorgi.After a second-round loss in Birmingham, Bencic won her first WTA title in Eastbourne, after wins over Madison Keys, Eugenie Bouchard, Caroline Wozniacki and Agnieszka Radwańska in a three-set final.
Bencic was seeded 30th at Wimbledon. She reached the fourth round for the first time, before losing to former world no. 1 Victoria Azarenka in straight sets.
At the Citi Open, despite a second-round loss to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Bencic came back alive to pick up the doubles crown with Kristina Mladenovic without dropping a set the whole tournament. At the Rogers Cup in Toronto, Bencic defeated Eugenie Bouchard in the first round. She then upset World No. 5 Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets, followed by former Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki and former Roland Garros champion Ana Ivanovic, to advance to the semifinals where she faced World No. 1 Serena Williams. Bencic came from 5–5 and 0–40 down in the second set and failed to serve out the match twice in the third set, despite being two points away from the win multiple times. She eventually beat Williams to advance to her first Premier 5 final. The win made Bencic the first teenager since Sloane Stephens to beat Williams (2013 Australian Open), and it also made her the youngest player to beat Williams since Maria Sharapova (2004 WTA Tour Championships). She then beat Simona Halep in three sets after Halep retired down 0–3 in the third set to win the biggest title of her career. All six players she had beaten were either Grand Slam finalists (Wozniacki, Lisicki, Halep and Bouchard) or champions (Williams and Ivanovic).
At the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Bencic started out strong with wins over 11th seed Angelique Kerber and former top-10 player Flavia Pennetta to reach the third round, but was forced to retire after dropping the first set against seventh seed Lucie Šafářová.
Bencic competed at the US Open as the 12th seed. She easily beat Sesil Karatancheva in the first round, but survived a tough three setter against Misaki Doi in the second round, coming from a set and three match points down at 5–6 in the second set to advance to the third round where she lost to Venus Williams in straight sets, despite being up a break in the second set.
Bencic began her Asian hard court swing at the Toray Pan Pacific Open. She began her run with a double bagel win over Xu Yifan. She then beat Samantha Stosur in three sets and Garbiñe Muguruza in straight sets to advance to the semifinals. She beat the top seed, Caroline Wozniacki for the fourth straight time in straight sets to advance to her fourth final of the year. She lost to Agnieszka Radwańska in straight sets. Bencic next played at the Wuhan Open. She beat lucky loser Ajla Tomljanović in straight sets before retiring in the second round against Camila Giorgi. She then played at the China Open. She beat Madison Brengle in three sets before withdrawing from her next match against Mirjana Lučić-Baroni. Bencic ended the year at No. 14.
2016: Top 10 debut
Bencic began her season at the Brisbane International. She easily beat Sara Errani before being upset in the second round by American qualifier Samantha Crawford in straight sets. Bencic next played at the Apia International Sydney. She beat Mirjana Lučić-Baroni, Tsvetana Pironkova, and Ekaterina Makarova to advance to the semifinals. In the semifinals, she retired with an illness against Mónica Puig after failing to win a single game in the first set. Bencic was seeded twelfth at the Australian Open. She made it to the fourth round with wins over Alison Riske, Tímea Babos, and Kateryna Bondarenko. In the fourth round, she lost to Maria Sharapova in straight sets.
Bencic was seeded first at the St. Petersburg Ladies' Trophy. She made it to the final with wins over Annika Beck, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Daria Kasatkina. Due to her performance in St. Petersburg, Bencic will enter the Top 10 of the WTA rankings for the first time.
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