Wimbledon: Angelique Kerber fights past Belinda Bencic in high-quality encounter

Wimbledon: Angelique Kerber fights past Belinda Bencic in high-quality encounter

Angelique Kerber fought past a resilient but erratic Belinda Bencic in the fourth round of Wimbledon as the German earned her spot in the quarterfinals with the impressive 6-3, 7-6 win.

don-han
Don Han

Angelique Kerber continued her fine run of form and lived up to her title credentials after storming past the dangerous former top-10 player Belinda Bencic in the fourth round of the 2018 Wimbledon Championships. Kerber had never beaten the Swiss in any professional competitions before the encounter but gathered up her stunning forehands and a solid game to claim the confidence-boosting 6-3, 7-6 victory over Bencic, who had leads in both sets but failed to consolidate them.

Opening the play out on Court No.1, Kerber astonishingly blasted 38 winners to just 19 unforced errors throughout the one hour and 48-minute encounter, while the world number 56 was the clear aggressor though she misfired too often — ending the match with 36 errors and 42 winners.

Kerber and Bencic meet at the net for a warm embrace | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe
Kerber and Bencic meet at the net for a warm embrace | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe

Kerber recovers from a 1-3 deficit to take the first set

Bencic had a shaky start to the match after she misfired three backhand unforced errors to gift Kerber with multiple break points in the opening game. Nonetheless, the Swiss was able to gain her focus immediately and dictated play, ultimately closing out the nervy game with an ace. Kerber also faced some troubles in her first service game but still managed to get onto the scoreboard as her backhands were incredibly solid and firing on all cylinders.

Leading their head-to-head record 3-0, Bencic was the first to find an early breakthrough as Kerber’s game collapsed from 40-15 up in the fourth game with her vulnerable second serves gifting Bencic with the perfect opportunity to exploit them. Just when Bencic took the 3-1 lead, she became extremely passive which opened the door for Kerber to break straight back and eventually rattle off five consecutive games to claim the first set.

Kerber was looking at her best throughout the encounter | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe
Kerber was looking at her best throughout the encounter | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe

Bencic had her chances in the seventh game but Kerber’s forehands were simply too good as she saved three game points to break serve. The Swiss had the golden chance to erase the deficit, though the German seemed to be playing some of her best tennis as she was unstoppable, fending off multiple break points to consolidate her break. Bencic’s backhand errors proved costly as Kerber took the opening set 6-3 after 43 minutes of play.

Bencic fails to convert set points and Kerber capitalizes

After losing the first set, Bencic’s confidence certainly took a huge blow as Kerber stormed her way through her service games before she dug for chances on the return. The German earned a break point in the early stages although the world number 56 was able to respond with a terrific ace, getting on board in the toughest way possible.

Angelique Kerber's backhands were unstoppable in the match | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe
Angelique Kerber's backhands were unstoppable in the match | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe

However, things looked one-sided after Kerber broke for a commanding 3-1 lead and led by a set and a break, but Bencic finally found her groove once more — firing three consecutive winners before she earned the immediate break back with the help of a Kerber double-fault. Unexpectedly, Kerber was starting to produce a slew of unforced errors and this allowed Bencic to take the lead for the first time in the set, alongside the chance to serve out the set.

However, Bencic could not close out the set despite having four set points, with Kerber showing some tough resistance while the Swiss double-faulted on one of those crucial points. Errors were flying everywhere from the former top-10 player and Kerber capitalized on them, ultimately taking a 6-5 lead with a love service hold.

Bencic reacts after missing the forehand at 5-5 in the tiebreak | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe
Bencic reacts after missing the forehand at 5-5 in the tiebreak | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe

Bencic then survived a nervy game which saw her fend off a match point with a daring volley winner and extend the set into a tiebreak. It was some steel of nerves from the Swiss, who was able to fight off an incoming slaught from the German. The tiebreak saw Bencic retrieve from a 1-4 deficit to level the scores, but a huge forehand error at 5-5 cost her the match as Kerber claimed the huge win with an impressive serve.

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