By Jake Davies, in Linz
- Belinda Bencic defeats Kirsten Flipkens 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7)
- Saved match point in thrilling victory in late Linz finish
LINZ, AUSTRIA – Belinda Bencic registered her first ever win at the tournament in Linz and she did it in some style with an important late-night win against Kirsten Flipkens.
Belinda Bencic [WC] defeats Kirsten Flipkens 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7)
In one of the most competitive and intense matches of the week, Belinda Bencic dug deep and found a way to get over the line as she took Kirsten Flipkens right to the distance and saved a match point en route to her first WTA main draw win since Indian Wells back in March.
Victories have been hard to come by for the Swiss prodigy, but she has also had her fair share of bad luck inside the last eighteen months, where whenever she took one step forward, she would then take another two steps back.
A plethora of injuries after injuries halted her progress and prevented her from reaching the very top of the game when the world was her oyster.
The 20-year-old has not long recovered from a five month absence with a left wrist injury. Her ranking plummeted to as low as No.312 in the world, but the former World No.7 seems to be embracing the emotions that come with winning a tennis match, which is something she had missed dearly.
Now Bencic is playing for the enjoyment of the game and the satisfaction of competing and she discussed this during her post-match press conference following her win over the Belgian Flipkens:
“I mean, every victory means a lot. Obviously I missed this emotion so much and I realised that. It is not about that won but it is about that I can finally play so I appreciate that. I think I appreciate it more now. The fact that I win is a bonus.”
” I appreciate playing more. I’m just really happy that I can play. No matter if I win or lose. Before I would be very upset if I lose, obviously now I want to win as well, but I would be very upset in the past and it was all about winning or losing, now it is really just about playing.”
The third set tiebreak was nail-biting tennis. Flipkens saved the first match point at 5-6, then generated her own match point at 7-6, before losing three points in a row in a dramatic climax to the first night session of the event in Linz.
Are we witnessing the rebirth of one of the great young champions of our sport? Sometimes these victories that are separated by slender advantages are actually the victories that players tend to remember more than the straightforward, comprehensive match-wins.
Bencic may be a long way away from getting to the level she once competed at regularly, but this rare WTA main draw victory could be a triumph that she looks back on fondly in the months to come.
Bencic continues her campaign in Linz on Wednesday.
Main Image: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography
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