Belinda Bencic and Magdalena Rybarikova faced each other for only the second time, in this third round clash at Indian Wells. The last time these two players came up against each other was in 2014, and it was young Bencic who picked up the victory on that occasion.
Rybarikova Takes The First Set
Rybarikova won the toss, and decided to let Bencic serve first in the match. The 19-year-old Swiss got rid of any early nerves by holding her opening service game to love. In the very next game, it looked like Rybarikova's decision to serve second was a bad one, as she soon found herself 40-15 down in the game. The Slovakian managed to save all the break points she faced, to keep the set on serve.
Rybarikova gained the upper hand in the set, when she broke Bencic's serve in the fifth game. The Slovakian's lead did not last long though, as she failed to consolidate the break of serve. Bencic kept battling hard in the sixth game and eventually found herself with an opportunity to break Rybarikova. The Swiss player capitalized on this opportunity and leveled the score in the set.
Bencic soon found herself behind once again. Rybarikova raced to a 15-40 lead in the game and despite Bencic saving one of the break point chances, she could do nothing to stop Rybarikova from taking the game with her second opportunity. Unlike the previous occasion, Rybarikova managed to consolidate the break of service. The Slovakian held her serve to love, which put her 5-3 up in the set.
The world number eight added one more game to the scoreboard, as she held her serve with ease. Rybarikova then went on to serve for the set. The Slovakian did not falter as she took her second set point opportunity, to put herself in a commanding position in the match.
Bencic Gets Decisive Break
The second set started in exactly the same way as the first did, with Bencic holding her serve to love before failing to capitalize on two break point opportunities. This time around though, the first break of serve came in the fourth game of the set. Bencic raced to a 0-40 lead in the game, and there was nothing Rybarikova could do to stop the young Swiss player from taking the game, on the first time of asking.
Bencic then went on to back the break of service up by holding her service game. The remaining games of the set, went the way of the player who was serving. Neither, Bencic or Rybarikova faced another break point in the set. Bencic went on to take her first set point opportunity, taking the match to a decisive third set.
Bencic Battles Hard, But Rybarikova Wins The Match
The third set started with both players holding their opening service games. Rybarikova was the player who took an early lead in the set, as she utilized her first break point opportunity to break Bencic in the fourth game.
Rybarikova backed up the break, as she comfortably held her serve. The Slovakian then raced to a 15-40 lead in the sixth game. Bencic managed to save these two break point chances, but then gifted Rybarikova a third opportunity to go a double break up in the set. Rybarikova failed to capitalize on this, and Bencic then eventually managed to hold her service game, to keep herself within touching distance of Rybarikova.
In the very next game, Rybarikova was left ruing the missed opportunities, as Bencic broke back. The young Swiss player did not lose focus as she took her first chance to break Rybarikova and put the set back on serve. Bencic had the opportunity to level the score in the set, however, she could not stop Rybarikova from breaking her service once again. By breaking Bencic's serve, Rybarikova put herself 5-3 up in the set.
The Slovakian just needed to hold her service game to win the match, but Bencic was not ready to let the match go. Bencic battled hard and Rybarikova had to fight off two break point opportunities. Despite her best efforts, the world number eight could do nothing to stop Rybarikova from taking her second match point.
After just over two hours, Rybarikova had defeated Bencic. There was a lovely exchange at the net, as the two players showed their appreciation of the other player. Rybarikova will now play Roberta Vinci in the fourth round.