With world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty and defending champion Naomi Osaka out of the U.S. Open, the draw has become wide open. Since Angelique Kerber and Garbine Muguruza were defeated in the fourth round, only two grand slam winners remain, including the 2019 U.S.
Open winner Bianca Andreescu. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t stiff competition. The wave of young talents such as Leylah Fernandez and Britain’s Emma Raducanu have made this one of the most exciting grand slams in a while.
Another player who has risen to the challenge is Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic, the Tokyo Games’ gold medalist.
Bencic has been on the horizon for a few years, having reached a U.S.
Belinda Bencic wins🥇
Belinda downed Marketa Vondrousova in three sets to claim the gold medal in the women’s singles event at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The world number 12 becomes the first Swiss woman to win an Olympic gold medal.
#Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/qrRoVn47FV — Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) July 31, 2021
Open semifinal in 2019, a consistent Top 15 player, and a talked-about talent since she was 17. Originally coached by Martin Hingis’s mother, Melanie Molitor, she’s also been well known for her appearance alongside her mixed doubles partner Roger Federer, where the two of them won the Hopman Cup two years in a row.
But injuries and temperament have stalled her promising career. However, since this summer Belinda Bencic has made it clear that this is her time to shine. She powered through top ranked players at the summer Olympics, including French Open winner Barbora Krejčíková, still left in the draw at Flushing Meadows.
Her improbable gold medal was not only earned in mostly tough three-setters, it gave her confidence tennis fans have been hoping to emerge for years. “I played big matches there,” Bencic said of playing at the Tokyo Olympics, via tennis.com, “and I kind of know now how it feels to go deep in a tournament and an important tournament”.
Since winning the gold medal, the Swiss player has been one of the contenders to watch coming into the hard court grans slam. She hasn’t dropped a set all tournament, and she was in full command at the outset of the fourth round match against Iga Swiatek, until a nagging back injury threatened to stall all her momentum.
Some of Bencic’s demons cropped up again, with the world No. 12 Bencic displaying signs of frustration and allowing Swiatek to push the first set to a tight tie break. Instead of wilting under pressure, Bencic instead dug deep and overpowered her back issue to fight through a tense tie break.
The impressive way she rode the momentum to the win to take the second set was inspiring tennis and mental focus, 7-6(12), 6-3.
The way she capitalized on Swiatek’s mistakes demonstrated the kind of mental power Bencic is playing with now, and to dismissing her chances at the U.S.
Open is a mistake. She has a good an opportunity as anybody, perhaps more than most left in the draw.
“It was important.Belinda Bencic will meet one of the young sensations in her quarterfinal match, Emma Raducanu, who is having a dream run at her second grand slam appearance. Either competitor is playing the tennis of their lives.
It was very important the first set.,” Bencic said after fourth round win. “It’s mentally important because you know when you lose a set like this, it's very frustrating. Yeah, a little bit bitter, you know, to lose a set like this”.
“I feel like this kind of transitioned to my game a little bit,” she said, about her Olympic experience, “going for it, I have nothing to lose, I’m so happy to be here kind of vibes as well”.
For Bencic, she is hoping to become the first Swiss woman to win the U.S. Open since her idol and compatriot Martina Hingis won in 1997.
Emma Raducanu, 18yo, playing just her 2nd career Grand Slam main draw, beats Shelby Rogers 6-2, 6-1 to reach her first Major QF at the #USOpen !