Date: 25 February 2021
Tournament: WTA Adelaide International
Venue: Adelaide, Australia
Category: WTA 500
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $535,530
Match Timing: Approx. 8 pm local time, 3 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel
Belinda Bencic vs Storm Sanders preview
Belinda Bencic will take on Australia's Storm Sanders in the quarterfinals of the Adelaide International on Thursday.
Just one year ago, Bencic was ranked a career-high No. 4 in the world. But the 23-year-old is now ranked No. 12, after having limited herself to just one tournament in 2020 following the circuit resumption.
Bencic was knocked out in the first round at that event (the Italian Open), and she also lost her opening match of the new season at the WTA Grampians Trophy. The Swiss managed to break her losing streak by reaching the third round of the Australian Open, where she was beaten by the in-form Elise Mertens.
Her opponent on Thursday, Storm Sanders, has not been played a whole lot of matches on the WTA tour over the past year either.
Ranked No. 292 in singles, Sanders has a much better record in doubles, where she is ranked No. 64. Playing just two singles events since the tour resumed, the 26-year-old lost in the first round at Prague and Strasbourg last year - where she came through qualifying each time.
Sanders didn't get off to a great start in 2021 either, where she lost in the first round of the Australian Open qualifying event.
Belinda Bencic vs Storm Sanders head-to-head
Belinda Bencic and Storm Sanders have never played on the WTA tour, and so their head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
Belinda Bencic vs Storm Sanders prediction
After her frustrating 2020 season, Belinda Bencic will be hoping to build some momentum in the early part of this year. Following her third-round finish at the Australian Open, Bencic has registered a straight-sets win over Misaki Doi to reach the quarters in Adelaide.
"I had a good game plan, and I was trying to play really aggressive, stepping up with my game, not having fear, and definitely trying to build up my confidence here," Bencic said after her win over Doi.
Storm Sanders meanwhile is enjoying the biggest week of her singles career. The Aussie won two matches to come through the qualifying event, and then scored a big win over Ajla Tomljanovic in the first round.
On Wednesday, Sanders overcame the feisty Yulia Putintseva in three tough sets to reach her first WTA 500-level singles quarterfinal.
That said, Bencic is vastly more experienced and is beginning to regain some of her form. The Swiss can play very consistently when she's in the groove, using her solid groundstrokes to assume control of the match.
If she is able to do that on Thursday too, Bencic could well be on her way to her first semifinal since October 2019.
Prediction: Belinda Bencic to win in straight sets.