Bencic: 'Naomi Osaka is a great player, her Melbourne run was impressive'

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Bencic: 'Naomi Osaka is a great player, her Melbourne run was impressive'

The 22-year-old Belinda Bencic had been among the biggest prospects on the WTA Tour some half a decade ago, finishing 2015 season in the top-15 at the age of 18 after winning two WTA titles. In February next year, she climbed to no.

7 but instead of moving towards the WTA throne Belinda started to struggle with injuries, finding herself outside the top-150 at the end of 2017! Determined to get back where she belongs, Belinda made significant progress in 2018, advancing into the fourth round at Wimbledon and not hesitating to play on the ITF level to gain form and points, wrapping up the season in the top-40 for the first time in three years.

After five wins in Hobart and the Australian Open at the beginning of 2019, Belinda hit the zone in Dubai as well, battling past Aryna Sabalenka, Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina and Petra Kvitova to win the first Premier 5 crown since Toronto 2015!

Ranked inside the top-30 and with confidence on her side, Bencic is on the mission at Indian Wells as well, toppling Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-4, 6-2 in just 66 minutes to secure the place in the fourth round. Despite the positive result, Belinda was forced to work hard for this win, repelling 11 out of 14 break points and stealing more than 60% of the points on the return to score six breaks from seven opportunities and advance into the last 16 where she will play against the world no.

1 Naomi Osaka. "It didn't feel much different. Dubai is now the past already, so no one cares about it anymore. You play the next tournament. Yeah, you have to, you know, show your game again. I think the first round is always tough.

I was relieved to win it because Alison was a tough opponent. Today, even more, I felt better on the court. You have to build up your tournament confidence again, and, like, get into the tournament. Now I'm playing against higher-ranked opponents or at least..

yeah, we'll see, I have nothing to lose again. Playing against Naomi Osaka would be huge, you know, I always like to play on the big courts, I like to play the big players, that's what I work for. She's a great player and I will watch her match against Collins.

Well, you know, definitely, you know, it's inspiring, because we all.. as I said in Dubai already, we try to push each other. One is doing well, so you're motivated to do well again. I think we are all, like, different players, but still, I think, the '97 generation, it's so strong.

And I think always one of us is doing well. Sometimes, you know, the success, like, everybody has their timing. So sometimes it takes longer; sometimes it takes faster. I think it's nice to have so many different girls that play different.

I don't know her so well. I never played her. I just saw her run in Australian Open which was, yeah, was impressive."