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"She has this aura that's just, if you want it or not, you are intimidated, you are scared; of course, it's Serena" - Belinda Bencic after beating Serena Williams in Toronto

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Belinda Bencic on Serena Williams
Belinda Bencic on Serena Williams

Belinda Bencic paid a heartfelt tribute to Serena Williams after beating the legend in the round of 32 of the Canadian Open on Wednesday.

In a rematch of the pair's semifinal at the same tournament seven years ago, Bencic beat the retiring Williams in straight sets to improve her head-to-head record to 2-0 against the American.

The 23-time Major winner was looking to win back-to-back matches for the first time since Roland Garros last year. However, Williams fell short against Bencic, winning only six games as she failed to build on her first-round win against Nuria Parrizas-Dias - her first on hardcourt in 18 months.

.@BelindaBencic makes in 2-0 against @serenawilliams in Toronto. She joins the @nationalbank Winner's Circle with a repeat performance of the 2015 semi-final. 👏#️NBO22 https://t.co/xr8DloeiIG

Following her win, Bencic spoke about the 'intimidating' aura of Williams, which is ubiquitous.

"You can feel her presence everywhere. She has this aura that's just, you know, if you want it or not, you are intimidated, you are scared. Once she's just standing there at the return, you just get a little bit scared. Of course it's Serena," Bencic said.

Explaining the difficulty of playing Williams without feeling 'star struck', Bencic added that it's difficult to play against her.

"I mean, in a way with her it feels almost like I'm star struck every time I see her. So it's difficult to play her. It's difficult to kind of put that aside and just like focus on the match. Because I feel like, I just don't know how I then play, because I feel like I'm paralysed a little bit just like watching her," she added.

Bencic will next play Garbine Muguruza for a place in the quarterfinals at the National Bank Open.


"The first time I beat her here was also really nice, so it's going to be incredible memories for me" - Belinda Bencic on Serena Williams

National Bank Open Toronto - Day 5
National Bank Open Toronto - Day 5

Belinda Bencic has said that she has fond memories of her first win over Serena Williams in Toronto. Seven years later, she has two wins in as many meetings with Williams at the same tournament.

"The first time or the first time I beat her here was also really nice. So it's going to be incredible memories for me. It's really special," said Bencic. "Of course, I always say that I never imagined, you know, ever playing against her. And not even saying that winning and also that I beat her twice now in Toronto."
Thanks for the memories, @serenawilliams ❤️🇨🇦#NBO22 | @NBOtoronto https://t.co/weqeMyM2CN

Bencic added that her victory was bitter-sweet, as Williams is drawing the curtains on an illustrious career.

"Of course, it's super nice, but today it's a little bit more sad in a way. I don't really want her to retire. I feel like I've always, in a way you know what she's achieved and everything, all her legacy and career and everything. But now that it's soon to be over, I feel like people, and me included, are realising it even more," she said.

Serena Williams will next play at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati next week before playing in her last US Open campaign later this month.

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Edited by Keshav Gopalan
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