A highly intriguing third round clash takes place on Thursday afternoon as two of the WTA’s brightest teenagers in Elina Svitolina and Belinda Bencic will battle for a spot in the Family Circle Cup quarter-final. This is the first time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour.
World No. 35 Elina Svitolina has made some magnificent strides over the past few months, as she reached the fourth round in Miami last week, which lifted her to a career high of world No. 35. The new ranking also means she is the new No. 1 teenager on the professional tour, and cemented that spot by defeating a former No. 1 teenager Sloane Stephens in straight sets. The 6-4, 6-4 win, albeit somewhat a struggle at times, was an emphatic statement for the budding talent, as she continues to work her way up the ranks.
“I started to believe more in myself that I can compete with players like this, top level, Top 20 and Top 10,” Svitolina said after the match. “I think this belief is the key, and also tactical things like playing more solid from the baseline, trying to go forward and be more aggressive and finishing the points earlier.
“And of course, I’m getting used to life on the tour more. That’s the most important thing when you’re just coming up from juniors, building the confidence that you can win against these kinds of players.”
17-year-old Belinda Bencic is another rising youngster who stormed into the third round with a straight sets victory over Marina Erakovic. It took her just 80 minutes to dispatch of Erakovic 6-2, 6-1 to set up a first-time clash with Svitolina. The budding Swiss talent will be looking for her season best performance to reach the quarter-finals in Charleston.
This marks the first time these two youngsters will meet on the professional tour, and will certainly make for an exciting affair. Svitolina is riding high of her victory over American No. 2 Stephens and will be looking to carry that momentum forth into her third round match on Thursday.
Prediction: Elina Svitolina in Three Sets