The Swiss lady hasn't been exactly at the top of the heap when it comes to playing on clay but here at the Madrid Open she's doing her thing and so far it's working out. Belinda Bencic's record on playing the clay game is 1-5 and she hasn't been in a quarterfinal since February when she was in the Adelaide final. It's been her endurance and to come through when points could go either way, making the push to hit that one more ball to get the win.
The 2nd round against Bernarda Pera tested and tried her strategies.
She was overrun by Pera in the opening set where the American Lady couldn't do anything wrong. She volleyed, she went down the lines and moved Bencic around with perfection to grab the first set at 6-3. But it was the Swiss who ranked no. 11 compared to her opponent's no. 70, has had her share of winning and losing but came back strong in the 2nd set. Pera might have shown a bit of tiredness or unsuccessful tactics on Bencic that she couldn't come up with the goods. Bencic pulled herself together, threw out what didn't work in the opening set and developed good strategies to win the second set 6-1.
The tiebreak decisive set was the nail biter and things weren't going Bencic's way as the arena lights started faltering and went dim with some going out. It was a bad time for that as Pera was trailing 2-0 but got her mojo up to pull the next three points. Bencic did get unglued a bit with that lighting mayhem but her comeback power reigned supreme. There was also a bit of luck in the deciding point of 6-5 in Bencic's favour that Pera double-faulted. Everyone looked up at the screen to see the ball was out with the second serve. This gave Bencic the match at 6-3, 6-1, 7-6. The Swiss put her hands on her hips shook her head as to say 'well that went in my favour' and exhaustingly walked slow to her bench in disbelief of her late-night match win.
The Swiss lady is developing a pattern for tactics, luck and wins as she played the ever tough Tunisian Ons Jabeur the next match. Bencic had her groove leftover from the Pera win and pushed a tiebreak in the very opening of the Round of 16 to get the victory first set. It wasn't easy though as she fought off double set points. Jabeur and Bencic see-sawed their gameplay throughout. Bencic led the second set 4-3 and then a medical timeout from Jabeur. The angels were in Bencic's favour again as the Tunisian couldn't continue due to injury and turned over the match to Bencic.
Luck was a lady to the Swiss in this round but will Belinda Bencic continue to call the shots in her upcoming duel with Paula Badosa? They have met once in Charleston recently and the Spaniard has prevailed in a three-setter. Badosa has claimed entry into back-to-back semifinals at Lyon and then Charleston but it's Bencic's turn to keep her food to the pedal on coming up with the victory against Badosa. It's always anybody's match but if Bencic says consistent this third time may be her lucky charm to land in a semifinal that has been a distant welcome for a long time.