Tennis

IPTL: Belinda Bencic plays her role to perfection

Belinda Becic, the Switzerland-based Slovak displayed swift movement as she went on to thrash Kirsten Flipkens.  

Eighteen-year-old Belinda Bencic is one of the most promising talents around in the women’s professional circuit and has it in her to make it big at the elite level.

The Switzerland-based Slovak displayed her swift movement and fine game to win a few fans in India as she went on to thrash Kirsten Flipkens 6-1 in the women’s singles and enable her team Singapore Slammers surpass Japan Warriors at a crucial stage of their tie in the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium here on Saturday.

Ultimately, Slammers managed a 24-22 victory to register their fourth win.

A former French Open and Wimbledon junior title winner, Belinda, who has earned herself a reputation of being a giant killer since turning pro three years ago, has turned out to be a very successful player for Slammers this season, winning four of the six sets she has featured in.

The authoritative way in which she defeated the 29-year-old Kirsten, who came in to the Warriors side due to the unavailability of Kurumi Nara and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni due to illness, in less than 20 minutes was simply superb.

It shifted the momentum in favour of Slammers and gave them a decent three-game lead.

This cushion helped Slammers retain their lead, even though by a slender margin of one game, even after it lost the men’s doubles set to Warriors; Leander Paes and Philipp Kohlschreiber beating Marcelo Melo and Nick Kyrgios 6-4.

Melo and Kyrgios, who had gelled well in their previous outing against Philippine Mavericks, faced a strong challenge from the skilful pair of Paes and Kohlschreiber, who had the crowd support for obvious reasons. The Indo-German duo relied on its clever placement to unleash 10 winners and the Slammers suffered more because of committing four double faults.

However, Kyrgios got another chance to make amends when he took the field against Kohlschreiber in the men’s singles. The big-serving Aussie held his nerve against the tough German and won the super tie-breaker 7-3 and grabbed the set 6-5 to snatch the match for the Slammers.

Earlier, Thomas Enqvist gained from Carlos Moya’s 12 unforced errors to win the legends’ singles with a 6-2 margin and put the Warriors ahead.

However, Dustin Brown and Karolina Pliskova held their own against Paes and Kirsten for a keenly-fought 6-4 victory and catch up with Warriors.

The results:

Singapore Slammers bt Japan Warriors 24-22 (Carlos Moya lost to Thomas Enqvist 6-2; Karolina Pliskova & Dustin Brown bt Kirsten Flipkens & Leander Paes 6-4; Belinda Bencic bt Flipkens 6-1; Marcelo Melo & Nick Kyrgios lost to Leander Paes & Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4; Kyrgios bt Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-5 (3).

Friday’s result: Indian Aces bt Japan Warriors 26-21 (Rohan Bopanna-Sania Mirza bt Pierre-Hugues Herbert & Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-4; Agnieszka Radwanska bt Lucic-Baroni 6-2; Bopanna & Ivan Dodig lost to Leander Paes & Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-5(6); Fabrice Santoro bt Thomas Enqvist 6-3; Ivan Dodig lost to Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-3).


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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 1:52:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/iptl-belinda-bencic-plays-her-role-to-perfection/article7981651.ece

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