Belinda Bencic pushed to win her three qualifying rounds at Luxembourg and got on a tear of great victories over Varvara Lepchenko, Kirsten Flipkens and Dayana Yastremska, to name a few. She decided to take on a few Challenger tournaments to tone up her skills and went deep to the semifinal of the Tyler,Texas event.
She then entered another Challenger in Las Vegas, Nevada and went on to defeat Nicole Gibbs for the title. Bencic's skills has been tired and tested to get wins from higher ranked players and when the Hopman Cup came, she was there to play hard but consistent enough to win a few matches; enough to join with Roger Federer to win the Doubles title for Switzerland at Perth, Western Australia.
Bencic had known that these matches and tournaments were a mere warm-up as to what she'd have to endure at the Australian Open and she was willing to take the challenge. She entered the Hobart International, and knew about the wind and cool conditions but had to get through the matches with some opponents just as much a challenge as the weather.
The first opponent was Mihaela Buzarnescu from Romania. "It was an incredibly up and down match--very hard work...I feel like 'Ah, this wind is against me'", Bencic had said to the commentator after the match.
But it was all done and she had weathered a tough opponent who she'd lost to in the opening set. Second seeded Buzarnescu has a reputation for being a tough player but she had better luck last year as a finalist at Hobart.
She made her way to the final, but didn't have enough sting to defeat Elise Mertens in the last round. This year she could only go to the opening round where she met up with Belinda Bencic. The momentum of the Swiss player had a strong winding effect from playing all year and then the continuous play of the round robin Hopman Cup was a definite positive in Bencic finding the skills to become victorious over the Romanian at 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Bencic had done the ultimate struggle from injuries of a lower back, to thigh ailment and then wrist surgery to make a slow crawl back up the rankings ladder from no. 131 a few years ago to now 55. Upon recuperating from the ailments, injuries and surgery she is bit by bit getting her rhythm back into being consistent and skillful.
In concern of the lackluster matches she's played along the way she's said that "I just want to forget it and move on" The Swiss' next opponent was taking on Zoe Hives, and Australian on her own turf who wanted to prove things to her hometown Australian folks.
Hives is ranked in the 200s but tried to go up against a now consistent Swiss lady who was having none of it. Despite the second round win against Johanna Larsson, her first on the WTA tour, Zoe Hives came in beaming with confidence.
She had made many a good shot cross court and opening up the court to zing many balls in, but Miss Bencic brought out strokes and strategies that Hives just couldn't handle. Bencic means business and know the struggles.
She won over Hives 6-2, 6-4 and onto the third round at Hobart feeling self-assured of her game plan to capture another win and hopefully the title at Hobart International before the first grand slam of the year, the Australian Open opens up.