WTA s-Hertogenbosch: Belinda Bencic defeats compatriot Viktorija Golubic in straight sets

Belinda Bencic and Viktorija Golubic got drawn against each other for the very first time. The two Swiss players knew that a win today would not only book them a place in the semi final of the tournament but it would also give them the edge in the head to head. Bencic and Golubic pushed each other right up until the final point, but in the end, Bencic was just a bit stronger. The number one seed found a way to edge Golubic in both tiebreakers they had, to take the match in just under two and a quarter hours.

Bencic takes the tie break

Bencic got off to the best possible start in the match, as she raced to a 2-0 lead in the set. The number one seed capitalized on her first break point opportunity to give herself an early edge over Golubic. Bencic consolidated the break, despite Golubic putting her under pressure. Golubic had her own break point chance in the second game, however, Bencic managed to stop Golubic from taking the chance before she went on to win the game herself.

Bencic's strong start did not last long though, as Golubic brought herself back into the set. The 23-year-old got herself onto the scoreboard as she held of Bencic to win her service game. Golubic then leveled the score in the set as she broke Bencic. Golubic raced to a 40-0 lead in the game, giving herself three chances to break her compatriot. Bencic managed to prevent Golubic from taking one of the chances, but there was nothing she could do to prevent Golubic from winning the game at the second time of asking.

After getting the score back level in the set, Golubic soon found herself behind once again. Golubic had her chances to hold her serve and consolidate the break, but she could not find a way to get past Bencic. This allowed Bencic the opportunity to work herself a break point chance, which she took to put herself ahead in the match for the second time.

Bencic backed up the break with a strong hold of service, before working herself into a position to go a double break up in the set. This time around though, Golubic managed to prevent Bencic from capitalizing on her break point chances. The 23-year-old improved her performance to eventually hold her service and keep herself within touching distance of Bencic.

Both players won their next service game with ease, with neither player dropping more than two points. This took the score to 5-4 and gave Bencic the chance to serve for the set. Golubic was not willing to allow Bencic to win the set without a battle, and she soon found herself with two break point chances. Bencic managed to prevent Golubic from taking one of the chances, however, there was nothing she could do to stop Golubic from taking the game at the second time of asking.

The break by Golubic sparked a string of breaks. In the very next game, Bencic made the most of the opportunity she was given by Golubic. The 19-year-old broke Golubic at the first time of asking, giving herself another chance to serve for the first set. Once again, Bencic's poor serving was punished by Golubic who capitalized on her second break point opportunity to take the set to a decisive tiebreaker.

Clearly frustrated at her failure to serve the set out, Bencic struggled early on in the tiebreaker. The number one seed quickly found herself 3-0 down in the tie break as Golubic gained control. Golubic did not have the lead for long though as Bencic fought her way back to level the score. After a back and forth exchange of points, Golubic soon found herself with two set point opportunities.  The 23-year-old could not take either of her chances to win the set, which gave Bencic the chance to get herself back into the tie break. Bencic eventually found a way to edge past Golubic, and after a string of impressive shots, Bencic took the set at the first time of asking.

Viktorija Golubic battled hard but could not capitalize on her chances to take the set. Photo: Ricoh Open
Viktorija Golubic battled hard but could not capitalize on her chances to take the set. Photo: Ricoh Open

Tiebreaker needed to decide the winner of the set

The second set was completely different to that of the first, as both players comfortably held their service games without dropping more than two points. Neither Bencic of Golubic had a break point opportunity until the sixth game of the set. The opportunity fell to Bencic who after a number of deuces found a way to work herself a chance to break Golubic. Bencic made the most of her first break point opportunity to break Golubic and put herself ahead in the set.

Just like in the previous set, Bencic failed to consolidate the break. The 19-year-old could do nothing to stop Golubic from breaking straight back and leveling the score in the set. In the eighth and ninth games, both Golubic and Bencic had chances to break their opponent, however, neither player could capitalize on their chance keeping the set on serve. From here, Bencic and Golubic both won their remaining service games with relative ease. This took the score to 6-6 meaning that the set needed to be decided by a tie break once again.

In the tiebreaker, Bencic quickly found herself with a mini break. From here, Bencic took control of the tie break. The 19-year-old won five of the next six point, as she upped her game to edge past Golubic. Golubic fought right until the end, but in the end, her compatriot was just too strong for her. Bencic took the set and match at the first time of asking, to book her spot in the next round of the tournament.

After her straight sets victory over her fellow Swiss player, Bencic progresses into the semifinal where she will face her good friend and recent Roland Garros doubles champion Kristina Mladenovic.

Belinda Bencic during the match. Photo: Ricoh Open
Belinda Bencic during the match. Photo: Ricoh Open
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