Volvo Car Open: Bencic reaches QF with win over Townsend
Belinda Bencic had a tricky finish to her round of 16 match but made sure she got the win at the Volvo Car Open Thursday. The Swiss star regained her consistency at the end to take out Taylor Townsend 6-2, 7-5 at the Family Circle Tennis Center.
Coming in on the back of a smooth win in the second round, Bencic looked to continue her dominance and dismantle the American's game. On the other hand, Townsend had registered a surprising win over the world number 15 Julia Goerges, ending it with a complete shutout in the second set tiebreak.
Errors cost Townsend early on as Bencic took the break with ease, hitting a few quick crosscourt shots on the return. She followed that with brisk work in the second to consolidate the break.
The American desperately needed to hold and she did just that, managing to hold off Bencic and get on the scoreboard. But the 22-year-old regained her two-game lead and the two players continued to exchange service holds.
It wasn’t until the seventh game that Bencic got another break that allowed her to serve for the set.
Despite giving the American a point and a forced error, the ninth seed completed the first set in 32 minutes, with her crosscourt strategy continuing to work well. She hit 11 winners in the set, but something still concerned her so she had a conversation with her father and coach Ivan Bencic. Townsend also called for her coach Donald Young Sr. during the break between sets to help her figure out how to find her opponent’s weaknesses.
While she wasn’t able to get a break in the second set, Townsend put on a stronger showing of her offense which kept her in control of her serve. The American remained in touch with Bencic but as the finish line for the Swiss player closed in, she eyed a chance at a break.
One chance came in the seventh where they went to deuce for the first time, and Bencic eventually won the AD point to clinch the lead.
Townsend immediately had a break back chance in the eighth game, despite her 0-30 lead disappearing through errors on her forehand. She fought off the problems to force deuce where her opponent made just enough mistakes to hand back the break and level at four-all.
A major hold for the American got her out to 5-4, and Bencic immediately called down her coach to figure out how to save the set. Young was also called to the court as Townsend realized she had the opportunity to bag the set.
The Swiss star served to extend the set in the 10th game and did so with a hold to love that gave her the leverage to continue her push for victory. A break for Bencic came just in the nick of time, in the 11th game, which allowed her to serve for the match.
She reached 40-15 with the trademark crosscourt shots doing the job, and ended the match in 1 hour and 22 minutes with a perfectly time smash.
"I’m super happy and super relieved,” Bencic said to Andrew Krasny after the match. “It’s so tricky to play Taylor and I’m very happy that I managed to win somehow.”
"The key is to always put pressure," said Bencic when asked how she went along in the match. "She has a very uncomfortable sting and if you give her time she’s going to spin you out of the court and run out. I’m really happy that my serve helped me."
Bencic will take her strengths to the next match and try and make the semis for the first time since 2014. She will take on either Petra Martic or Jessica Pegula in Friday’s quarterfinal.