By Chris Oddo | Friday, August 29, 2014
17-year-old Belinda Bencic became the youngest player to reach the last 16 of a Grand Slam in over seven years with a straight-sets upset of 6th-seeded Angelique Kerber.
Photo Source: AP
It’s happening fast for rising 17-year-old Belinda Bencic. In her first US Open, and just her fourth major overall, the Swiss Miss Protégé (she’s coached by Martina Hingis’s mother, Melanie Molitor, and also works with Hingis) knocked off 6th-seeded Angelique Kerber, 6-1, 7-5, to reach the round of 16.
“It's amazing that after last year I played juniors here, and this year I'm in the fourth round,” said Bencic. “So it's incredible.”
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Bencic won the final five games of the match and had to save five set points along the way, but once the Swiss got her chance to serve out the victory, she held her nerve like an experienced veteran, serving out the match to love.
“I just thought I cannot be passive, so I went for my shots,” Bencic said. “I think it was a good decision. I had nothing to lose in that moment, so I gave it my all.”
The world No. 58 reached her first career quarterfinal earlier this spring in Charleston, when she upset Sara Errani, but Bencic says it is her experience at the Grand Slams that has helped her confidence the most.
“It all started in Australia where I had a good run,” she said. “I qualified and I won a round, so from there I started believing that I can play with these players.”
Bencic is still working with Melanie Molitor, and she’s quick to credit the mother of Martina Hingis for helping her become a solid pro.
“Almost everything I know I know from her,” she said.
Bencic will face Jelena Jankovic in the round of 16. The Serb, seeded ninth, raced past Johanna Larsson, 6-1, 6-0.