Mutua Madrid Open: Bencic clears the first hurdle in straight sets

Belinda Bencic
Belinda Bencic

Belinda Bencic got an early start to her day and finished with a victory at the Mutua Madrid Open Sunday. The Swiss phenom remained steady to take down Alison Van Uytvanck in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 at court six on the grounds of La Caja Magica.

This is the first time since 2014 that Bencic has made it beyond the first round here.

The last time these two players went head to head was at Indian Wells, where Bencic took care of the Belgian in straight sets on her way to a semifinal finish in the desert. Her time on the clay courts hasn’t been consistent though, and many thought she would be vulnerable against the 25-year-old who went deep in the tournament at Rabat.

The match began with Bencic breaking the Belgian before she herself was broken back in the next game. After that initial statement of intent on the return though, they suddenly began to hold serve until the seventh game, when Bencic got a break to love. That was all she needed to maintain the pace and take the set in 40 minutes.

Bencic won more than 80 percent of her first serve points, and Van Uytvanck's much poorer ratio of 53% was no match for the Swiss.

Knowing that she was going to need more to be competitive with Bencic, the 25-year-old opened the second set by falling behind on serve but remained resolute. She managed to force deuce in time to go deep with the Swiss star in a game that spanned six break points.

Van Uytvanck had three opportunities to get it done and she did it on her last try, which allowed her to hold serve. Bencic answered with a much stronger hold in the second and consolidated it with a break thereafter.

That started a see-saw of breaks with the Belgian that lasted through to the final game where Bencic had the scoreboard advantage. With two match points, the 22-year-old sealed the deal with a solid forehand that put her day to rest after 1 hour and 28 minutes.

With her game looking in good shape, Bencic will now prepare for her second round match on Monday against Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova.

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Edited by Musab Abid
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