The 22-year-old Belinda Bencic was a player on a mission last week in Moscow, suffering an early loss in Linz and asking for a qualifying wild card in Moscow in her last chance to pass Kiki Bertens and Serena Williams in the battle for the WTA Finals.
Bertens lost to Kristina Mladenovic in the quarter-final and Belinda went on to beat the French player in the semis, moving ahead of both Bertens and Williams to punch Shenzhen ticket and secure the first WTA Finals berth.
Carried by this momentum, the Swiss went all the way to win the title, beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for the fourth WTA crown and the second of the season. Bencic had been one of the biggest prospects among the young guns some half a decade ago, finishing in the top-15 at the age of 18 after winning two WTA titles in 2015.
In February next year, she climbed to no. 7 but instead of moving forwards 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, the Swiss 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.
Ready to show her class again, Belinda kicked off 2019 season with the semi-final run in Hobart from outside the top-50, losing to Petra Kvitova in Melbourne before conquering the title in Dubai thanks to four straight top-10 triumphs!
Bencic was the semi-finalist at Indian Wells and Madrid, not playing that well in the rest of the clay season and returning strong on grass with the final in Mallorca. With only six wins at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon, Belinda saved her best tennis for the last Major of the season, advancing into the semi-final at the US Open where she lost to Bianca Andreescu in two tight sets.
The results were not that good in Wuhan, Beijing and Linz, losing ground a little bit in that battle for the place in Shenzhen and securing the spot among the elite eight with this successful Moscow run.