Belinda Bencic is bashing the ball, takes down Osaka

Belinda Bencic

FROM INDIAN WELLS, MARCH 11, 2019 – More and more, Belinda Bencic is becoming much more confident and knowledgeable.  The Swiss was really struggling over the past few years, because she was hurt a lot, and when she returned, she needed to re-think her game.

She played a lot of tournaments in 2018, playing whenever she could. She knew that eventually she would feel her legs. When she swings, and where she returns, she is blasting her shots. 

Back in 2016, she cracked the top 10. She won Canada, beating a bunch of excellent players. It looked like she could eventually become No. 1. But, she hasn’t … yet.

Can she return to the elite?  On Tuesday, she looked the part and crushed No. 1 and defending champ Naomi Osaka 6-3, 6-1.

Bencic takes a little more time, and she likes some long rallies, but she has to push herself in front. Osaka does, and that is why she has won two Grand Slams. Bencic has not, so in order to even further, she has to mix it up more and then when she has a chance, she can crack the ball.

After her win over Ekaterina Alexandrova, the Swiss said about playing Osaka, “Definitely a big opportunity.  I always like to play on the big courts, I like to play the big players. I really enjoy that, and that’s what I work for. We try to push each other. One is doing well, so you’re motivated to do well again.

“We are all different players, but still, the ’97 generation, it’s so strong.  Everybody has their own timing. So sometimes it takes longer; sometimes it takes faster. Definitely, [Osaka is] a great player. I’m just super happy to be on the big court at 6:00 p.m.”

It will be, on Tuesday, assuming it will stop the rain. The good rain, except for tennis:)

Some other good wins today including Venus Williams, Karolina Pliskova, Angelique Kerber and Aryna Sabalenka. Mona Barthel, a veteran who plays all the time, almost every week, and she has lost so many matches over the past few years, but now, she hangs in there and battles. Almost six years ago, she was ranked in the top 25, winning a couple events. Now she is ranked No. 97.  Is she ready to leap forward? We will find out next week.

Milos Raonic barely escaped the American Marcos Giron 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.  He looked a little timid, but in the third set, he finally took over the corners. That was a fun win by the Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka, edging Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6 in the third. That was darn close. … Alexander Zverev apparently is sick, so he went down easily against Jan-Lennard Struff. Everyone is ill. … After he struggled in South America, Dominic Thiem is playing better and now he could reach semis.