Bencic bounces Buzarnescu in opening round

8 January 2019, by Leigh Rogers

Belinda Bencic is into the second round of the Hobart International after beating second seed and last year’s finalist Mihaela Buzarnescu 4-6 6-3 7-5.

It was the most-anticipated match-up of the first round – and it certainly delivered drama. Blustery conditions made it difficult to maintain any momentum, causing frustration for both players.

“It was an incredibly up-and-down match, it was very hard work,” Bencic said.

“I’m a really emotional player and then the wind comes and I’m even more emotional. I feel like ‘ah, this wind is against me’, but I have to remember it is for both players.

“Sometimes (getting emotional) helps me to pick myself up to play a little bit better, sometimes I do it too much. But that’s just who I am.”

The world No.25-ranked Buzarnescu struck first, clinching the opening set with a backhand winner that skimmed the line.

Bencic, a former world No.7 and newly-crowned Hopman Cup champion, lifted in the second set.

“I just focused on bringing as much balls back as possible,” Bencic explained of her mindset after losing the first set.

“It was just so tricky to have any good rallies.”

The deciding set featured nine service breaks – seven of which were consecutive.┬áBencic had two match points at 5-4, but Buzarnescu broke to keep her tournament alive.

It was a short-lived recovery though, with Bencic winning the next two games to seal victory after two hours and 36 minutes on court.

Bencic faces Australian wildcard Zoe Hives in the next round.

> READ: Hives posts career-best win

Earlier in the day, seventh seed Kirsten Flipkens secured her second-round place with a 6-4 7-5 win over Dalila Jakupovic.

Fellow Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck is also into the second round. The eighth seed defeated American Madison Brengle 7-6(5) 7-5. Brengle entered the draw as a lucky loser, replacing 2012 champion Mona Barthel who withdrew with a viral illness.