Wimbledon 2019: Belinda Bencic runs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova out in straight sets
Belinda Bencic got her campaign as part of the Wimbledon 2019 championships off to a great start as she recorded a comfortable 6-2, 6-3 win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Court 18 at the All England Tennis Club on Tuesday.
The Swiss powerhouse took care of business in her opening round match to avoid giving too much to the Russian veteran and win in straight sets that is certain to infuse some confidence into the rest of her campaign.
The 13th seed had 25 winners and just five unforced errors that showed her tremendous focus to notch one of the best wins at the slam. The two Eurostars met for the fifth time in their careers but for the first time on grass.
The Swiss star carried a lot of momentum, on the back of a solid run last week in Mallorca where she nearly won the tournament on her first attempt. Despite the loss, the 22-year-old was more than ready to try and add a fourth win and third straight against the Russian veteran.
She chose to skip a majority of the grass court season, coming into Wimbledon with fresh legs. While her record didn’t show much promise in controlling the match, Pavlyuchenkova had the ability to make it a difficult task for Bencic to even win.
Both the stars got out to a comfortable start with each holding serve against their opponent. Neither one had leverage over the other as challenges in the next three games showed their even play. Bencic kept the pace of the match with her service hold and converted a break after six games to sit two games ahead of Pavlyuchenkova. Linking a third win gave the Swiss star a 5-2 stance over the Russian veteran who struggled to keep up with the 13th seed.
With a break in hand, Bencic went on to win the set on Pavlyuchenkova’s serve, showing great net-front presence that assisted in her positioning for success. With two set points, Bencic foiled both and was forced to deuce.
The Russian stopped four attempts to end the set and gained one of her own on an ace down the center line. Bencic fired back with a good crosscourt to negate Pavlyuchenkova’s game point. After two more breaks, Bencic got the elusive point with a ball that was lobbed over the head of the Russian veteran to land in and end the set in 36 minutes.
The Swiss star continued her fine form, claiming a strong win on serve to begin the second set. Pavlyuchenkova tried to match her opponent but 22-year-old rushed ahead on the score as the veteran was left waiting for her moment to break. With two victories under her belt, she put together a serve to love in the third.
The Russian somehow snapped Bencic’s winning streak climbing from a 15-40 deficit to force deuce and hold the first advantage point of the fourth. The win gave her the energy and confidence to score a break and sit a game back of changing the tide of the set. A comfortable service game allowed Pavlyuchenkova to even the score at three-all with a second hold of serve and Bencic cornered.
The 22-year-old found her chance to answer the 27-year-old with a much-needed service hold in the seventh to get back on track. Gaining the break was key to regain control and once again serve for the match which soon arrived in the ninth game.
Bencic easily reached three match points and lost one but the Russian was in no position to stop the inevitable victory that the Swiss star finally closed out in 1 hour and 11 minutes.
With a smooth finish to her opening round encounter, the 13th seed will be looking to continue her good run when she clashes paths with a youthful opponent in Kaia Kanepi on Thursday.