Belinda Bencic has a great opportunity to make her first Premier Mandatory final, taking on Angelique Kerber for a spot in the final at Indian Wells. The 22 year-old is in the midst of a 10 match winning streak which now includes six top ten victories. Bencic is now back in the top 20 but can move as high as 13 should she win the title.
There has been some wily performances from the Swiss this week, beating Naomi Osaka and Karolina Pliskova back to back. She picked apart Osaka in the previous round but had much more a fight on her hands against the power of Pliskova. “When you’re confident, you can really just trust your instincts and you don’t have to think about it at all. I’m definitely playing how I feel it, and it’s going well so I’m not planning on changing that.” she said. Just as impressive is her record in three setters this year, which currently stands at 8-1.
Kerber will be delighted to have moved on with a victory against Venus Williams, beating the American in straight sets. It wasn’t her best performance but she returned well, most notably winning over 60% on second serve returns. “I was really trying, in the first set especially, to find my rhythm and play my tennis, but it was not so easy,I’m happy that I won the first set and then could move in and play a little bit better” she said.
Kerber will pose a different threat to the heavy hitting of Osaka and Pliskova but it has been a matchup that Bencic has had success with in the past. She is 3-1 against the German although she lost in their last meeting at Wimbledon last year, no big shame considering that Kerber went on to win the title. “I think I made great steps forward in the fitness side, I definitely feel like I’m moving much, much better on the court than I have ever moved.” Bencic said. There has been no signs of her fading as the tournament goes on, something that should put her in good stead for what could be an almighty grindfest.
Prediction – Belinda Bencic in three sets