She has certainly done well over the past 12 months to get herself into the top eight seeds for Wimbledon, though there is a lot of uncertainty for Belinda Bencic heading into the third Grand Slam of the year. Will she be able to move on from the issues that have plagued her the past couple of months?
Notable results so far
It was a generally positive start to 2016 for the young Swiss star. She had a disappointing opening tournament in Brisbane, though went on to make the semifinals in Sydney before retiring due to illness. After this,she went on to make the second week at the Australian Open for the first time, losing to Maria Sharapova in the fourth round. Another strong result for Bencic came in St. Petersburg, where she lost to Roberta Vinci in the final.
However, more recently there has been a lot of disappointment for the world number eight. She lost her first matches in Dubai and Doha, and also fell early in both Indian Wells and Miami.
By Miami, it was evident that Bencic was struggling physically, and it was no surprise when she withdrew from Rome and Madrid. Bencic eventually withdrew from the French Open; a huge blow considering she had very few points to defend.
Grass court preparation for Wimbledon
Bencic returned from injury at the Ricoh Open in the Netherlands. She didn’t defend her finalist points from 2015 but had a solid run to the last four, losing to her good friend Kiki Mladenovic in the semifinals despite winning the first set.
However despite that run, it seemed that Bencic was not yet fully fit and many were surprised that she played in the Aegon Classic in Birmingham. Here, her fitness concerns were fully shown as she was forced to retire in the second set to Irina-Camelia Begu, after losing the first set 6-4 and trailing 4-3 in the second.
The former junior Wimbledon champion then moved on to Aegon International in Eastbourne, where she won her first ever title the year before. Bencic revealed that she had recovered from injury, though lost in her opening match to the very tricky (and fellow Eastbourne winner) Elena Vesnina.
It was certainly a mixed grass court preparation for her, and she may be looking for a little confidence heading into Wimbledon.
Best run at Wimbledon
Bencic’s best run at Wimbledon came just last year, where she reached the fourth round for the first time.
Seeded 30th, Bencic battled past grass court expert Tsvetana Pironkova in the first round before beating fellow young gun Anna-Lena Friedsam in another three-set battle. She then recorded a tight two-set victory over tricky qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands, before putting up a spirited display against 23rd seed Victoria Azarenka in the fourth round.
Bencic gained a lot of confidence from this run last season, and her seeding will give her a decent chance of at least matching it.
How Bencic’s game translates to the surface
One of the biggest strengths for Bencic on grass is that she is a good counter puncher and defender, meaning the speed and power of other players has less effect on the quick surface as she is able to stay in the rallies and potentially win them.
Furthermore, Bencic does have a fair bit of power. This means she can attack frequently and use the pace of the courts to win points quickly.