Belinda Bencic had to wait another day for her victory but didn’t take long to get it at the French Open 2019 on Thursday. Despite not finishing her match against Laura Siegemund in one night, the 15th seed ended what was left of their three-setter to advance to the third round with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory.
The two have never met on the tour but both had history on clay back when they played in the ITF. The German won both but she faced a well-developed player who was on a tear through the season with her never-say-die attitude. The 22-year-old made sure to get on the right track, winning her very first match in Paris and did so in straight sets. Siegemund made sure to come out of the gate strong but had to up her level against the current world number 15.
Siegemund started the competition with a shutout of Bencic, giving her no chance of scoring while on her serve. In an attempt to make it a difficult day for the Swiss, she opened a 40-15 lead for break points but was forced to deuce. Each had a chance for the AD point but Bencic came through with it in the second. She responded with a break of the German that soon led to four games with each gaining a double on one another.
Siegemund returned to hold in the seventh and after the the 22-year-old leveled at four all, the German took a 5-4 lead with her strong service game. She kept attacking in the tenth to gain two set points. Bencic once again denied her the chance to win it outright and forced deuce before giving her the chance to hold.
The German got it back to deuce and earned three more breaks before winning the set in 49 minutes. Though they had committed three double faults each, the difference maker was the net front strategy that ultimately paid off for Siegemund. She scored 20 winners that took a beating on Bencic who had met her match on clay.
The second got underway with Siegemund opening the scoring to set the bar high for her opponent. Bencic responded but once the German took the lead back in the fifth, she went for a full court press that paid off. Siegemund earned a 4-2 stance on a shutout of Bencic on serve before being broken back. The 22-year-old hunted down a chance to remain level in the eighth and held serve to stand at four-all.
A key break gave Bencic the chance to even the match at one set apiece in the tenth. They played a long opener for the first point that went to Bencic due to an error by Siegemund. The German fell back on scoring that allowed the Swiss star to get to set point where she won it on a winner to conclude 41 minutes of play. The Swiss had her serve level at 56 percent with just three winners being recorded in the set.
Knowing that more power from her end would help her attain the goal while keeping Siegemund back, she scored a break that began the deciding set and consolidated it with a hold that had to go to deuce. The German didn’t let her service reach that level and put a lock down on her serve to avoid a double break. The world number 15 regained her lead with a service hold before converting a break point to widen the gap to three. The German found a way to not only break back but recover a second straight on serve to sit a game down with Bencic feeling some pressure.
Light was becoming an issue for the two who kept voicing their concerns since the seventh with no action being taken by the officials. They continued on with the Swiss star facing a break after Siegemund scored a line drive winner. A double fault from her opponent leveled the score at four-all until the court supervisor came out to call it a night, leaving them deadlocked.
When play resumed the next day, Siegemund opened service in the ninth but was broken quickly by the Swiss star who had her eyes on the prize. Serving for the match, Bencic wasted no time getting the necessary match points to end the German's challenge quickly in 2 hours and 21 minutes.
“Yesterday was a very tough match and it was very difficult to go over night and to continue,” Bencic said during her on-court interview. “I think we were both very nervous. I think I just really played just normal what I can and I’m so happy that I won this.”
She’ll move into the third round for the first time to play Donna Vekic on Friday in order to get back on track with her schedule.Published 30 May 2019, 19:55 IST