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Adelaide International 2021: Belinda Bencic vs Coco Gauff preview, head-to-head & prediction

Belinda Bencic
Belinda Bencic
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 25 Feb 2021
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Match details

Fixture: (2) Belinda Bencic vs (Q) Coco Gauff

Date: 26 February 2021

Tournament: WTA Adelaide International

Round: Semifinals

Venue: Adelaide, Australia

Category: WTA 500

Surface: Outdoor Hardcourt

Prize money: $535,530

Match timing: Not before 6.30 pm local time, 1.30 pm IST

Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel

Belinda Bencic vs Coco Gauff preview

Second seed Belinda Bencic will aim to return to a WTA final for the first time in 16 months as she takes on World No. 52 Coco Gauff at the Adelaide International on Friday.

The last time Bencic was in a final was at the Kremlin Cup back in October 2019. The 23-year-old won that title, and went on to back it up with some solid performances in her subsequent tournaments.

After a semifinal appearance at the WTA Finals that year to go with three quarterfinals in the early part of 2020, the Swiss climbed to her career-best ranking of No. 4.

Bencic, however, has struggled to find her rhythm since the post-lockdown resumption of the tour. It was only at the Australian Open this year that she finally managed to win back-to-back matches, the first such instance since the Qatar Open last February.

Bencic seems to be making progress now though, as she has made it to the Adelaide semis in comfortable fashion. A 6-1, 6-3 win over Misaki Doi followed by a 6-2, 6-4 demolition of Storm Sanders attest to her resurgence.

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff

Coco Gauff meanwhile has already given the world substantial proof of her talent, despite being aged just 16. The American has stormed her way into the last-four at Adelaide after coming through the qualifying draw, reinforcing her big-game mentality yet again.

The five wins this week have given Gauff a WTA 500 semifinal berth for the first time in her fledgling career. It is interesting to note that four of those matches went the distance, underlining the teenager's tremendous fighting spirit and staunch determination.

After a straight-sets win over Francesca Jones, Gauff beat Kaja Juvan, Jasmine Paolini, Petra Martic and Shelby Rogers in three sets each. The last win would have been a particularly strong confidence-booster, given that Rogers has been enjoying a successful Australian summer.

Belinda Bencic vs Coco Gauff head-to-head

Belinda Bencic and Coco Gauff have never faced off on the tour before, so their head-to-head currently stands at a 0-0 deadlock.

Belinda Bencic vs Coco Gauff prediction

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff

While Belinda Bencic possesses a solid baseline game and is the higher-ranked player of the two, she hasn't been tested much this week. In contrast, Coco Gauff has had to battle her way into the semis.

The long matches have not only tested the American's physical prowess, but also showcased her exceptional mental strength.

Gauff's problem-solving skills have been on display throughout this week. She went a break down against the in-form Shelby Rogers in each of the second and third sets, but managed to claw her way back.

The teenager implemented a few smart tactical changes to wrest control of the match from Rogers. Gauff started moving forward a lot more, upping her aggression level considerably, before eking out the close win.

The 16-year-old's serve, groundstrokes and footwork will play a big role against Bencic, who is still not back to her best. If Gauff isn't feeling the effects of her long matches, she should be able to edge Bencic in a close contest.

Prediction: Coco Gauff to win in three sets.

Published 25 Feb 2021
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