Luxembourg Open: Bencic, Bouchard march forward with straight sets wins
Eugenie Bouchard and Belinda Bencic continued their recent success at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open on Wednesday. Strong wins over Carla Suarez Navarro and Kirsten Flipkens respectively advanced both to the quarterfinals at CK Sportscenter.
The Canadian suffered the last two meeting against Navarro losing in three sets in 2015, and 2017. With a four-match winning streak and a great hold over Timea Babos, the 24-year-old looked to extend her way into the tournament.
Bouchard came out guns blazing with a serve to love before beginning her break of Navarro’s serve. She managed to get a double after four decisions before making it a 5-0 run for herself. Suarez-Navarro held late in the sixth but the damage had already been done as Bouchard took the first set needing only two set point attempts to get done with half the match in 28 minutes. It was clear that the first serve of the Spaniard never came to full potential scoring 50 percent of points from the serve that played 40 percent and 22 percent from the second. While Bouchard didn’t have a high first serve, she managed to keep the points coming to be in a great spot.
She opened the second set breaking the 30-year-old to love that was the beginning of the end for her. She witnessed Bouchard’s actions become too much as the 24-year-old rallied to a double break followed by the triple that stood out as the longest game of the set. With a bagel near at hand, Bouchard clinched the opportunity to hand it to Suarez-Navarro holding a match point to bring an end to 53 minutes that got her into Thursday’s quarterfinal.
The same went for Bencic who faced the Belgian for the third time going back to last year where she played deep in a third set tiebreak to win. With a long winning streak in tow. She was determined to keep it alive and move forward as a powerhouse. She broke Flipkens in the opening game before consolidating her service hold for a 2-0 lead. The 32-year-old held in the third but had nothing more to show for herself.
She left the door open for the Swiss star to dictate on which led to her winning the next three while allowing four points combined. By the time the set came to a close, Bencic had secured the double break and was ahead of the competition after 26 minutes. She won six of eight from the first serve as it was clear that she had the control to be comfortable against the ninth seed who couldn’t get the first serve to liven up.
Bencic saw a slight change to her opponent’s game as she followed on service holds to begin the second set. By the fourth, the qualifier broke open the pace and led 3-1 before being broken herself. Bencic broke back on Flipkens before conducting a way to end the set no matter what the Belgian did. After her third service hold in the eighth, Bencic blanked Flipkens in the ninth easily reaching three match points to punch her ticket into the round of eight after 62 minutes on Stadium Court.
The success of both of them put them in a great spot to deal with less competition but also deal with the strain of enduring so many matches. While neither had dropped a set, they would have to endure into Thursday as Bencic meets against Vera Lapko while Bouchard awaits a winner between Andrea Petkovic and fifth-seeded Katerina Siniakova.