Bencic wins battle of young stars

10 January 2019, by Leigh Rogers

Belinda Bencic earned a place in the Hobart International semifinals with an impressive win over Dayana Yastremska tonight.

The No.55-ranked Bencic scored a 7-6(2) 6-3 victory in a match between two of the most promising young talents on the WTA Tour.

Bencic started well, racing to a 4-1 lead. But with some big hitting, Yastremska fought her way into the match.

The 18-year-old Ukrainian reeled off four consecutive games and had two set points on the Bencic serve in the 10th game. Yet the 21-year-old Bencic remained calm, staving off the challenge to force the first set into a tiebreak.

Despite 20 winners from Yastremska in the opening set, it was Bencic who won it. Her patience in rallies proving a winning game plan.

“That was the plan and I think I did pretty well, I just tried to put a lot of balls back and hope for the best,” Bencic said.

That calmness under pressure was evident again in the second set.

Yastremska made a blistering start, winning eight consecutive points to race to a 2-0 lead. But again, Bencic was able to stem the barrage of winners and regained control to close out victory.

“She’s really tricky to play,” Bencic said of her No.59-ranked opponent.

“She plays totally different to me, she goes hit or miss. It’s very difficult because it’s a lot of power (to deal with), but then also you may not get so much rhythm. You really have to rely on your serve to get some free points and try to put as much balls back as possible, to make pressure and make her nervous.”

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Bencic, who admitted to struggling with the windy conditions in Hobart earlier in the week, described it as her best performance of the tournament so far.

“I’ve improved every match, so I’m really happy about that,” she said.

“I’ve improved in all terms – serve, return, groundstrokes, timing. So I’m really glad.”

Bencic now faces Slovakian Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in tomorrow’s semifinals.

The semifinals are played during a twilight session, with tickets still available.