US Open: Bencic passes Vekic test to secure  a final four spot
Belinda Bencic celebrates her victory (Emilee Chinn/Getty Images/Zimbio)

US Open: Bencic passes Vekic test to secure  a final four spot

World number 12 Belinda Bencic battled past Donna Vekic in straight sets 7-6(5), 6-4 to book a Grand Slam semifinal spot. 

chris-elliott
Chris Elliott

Swiss star Belinda Bencic managed to see off world number 24 Donna Vekic in just under two hours to book a spot in the final four . 

The pair have met a few times, with the last meeting going Vekic's way with the Croat winning in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 in the fourth round of Roland Garros. However, Bencic has the slightly better record in meetings, having beaten Vekic previously at WTA tournaments such as New Haven and Birmingham.

This is the first time the Swiss star has made a a Grand Slam semifinal appearance. The tennis season for Bencic has been nothing but positive with a slow ascent up the rankings and the quarter final win here for Bencic means she will make a top 10 debut on Monday. 

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Tight first set 

On paper this was certainly a stellar matchup with both players winning multiple titles, with Vekic having the slight edge on singles titles winning five compared to Benic's three. 

The first few games were routinal service holds for both players, aside from neat valley exchanges you didn't feel any player would break any time soon. However, at 4-3 on Vekic's serve, applied more pressure, with deeper returns asking more questions. Vekic eventually managed to navigate her way through deuce and held to serve for the score to be level at 4-4. 

You got the feeling that Vekic would break the Swiss at 4-4 with Bencic making a few costly unforced errors, two double faults and a weak backhand into the net saw her break point down. Vekic made no mistakes and took her break point chance, Bencic broken now it was 5-4 in favour of the Croatian. 

Tennis is unpredictable, at no time is a player ever out of a set, or match. Vekic was full of nerves, and just couldn't keep her composure which Bencic capitalised on and broke to 15 to make it all square again, score now was 6-5 in favour of Bencic. Vekic managed to see off the Bencic threats on her serve, and it seemed only fitting the first set would go to a tiebreak.

The tiebreak definitely favoured Bencic with an impressive 9-2 record, and she made no mistakes here, clinching it 7-5. 

Bencic gets the job done  

With the way the first set went, very topsy-turvy with the stats even almost for both players, no one could predict the sudden change that would occur. 

Nothing too out of the ordinary happened in the first few opening games in the second set, although Bencic again racked up the double faults hitting 3 in her first service game, but still managing to survive. 

The first break of serve in the second set came at 3-3, with some exceptional punishing play from Bencic, there was no mercy shown breaking Vekic to love going 4-3 up. A key stat was serve percentages won with Bencic on 93% compared to Vekic's 67%. 

Some more unforced errors from Vekic handed Bencic another game, the world number 12 now 5-3 up, very much in control.  Vekic looked like she ran out of steam, like in Formula One where the driver needs to go to a pit stop, Bencic looked unforgiving, ready to pounce at any given moment. 

Vekic did survive on her serve for a little while despite being two break points down, taking it back to deuce with an incredible forehand winner going for broke. However, it just wasn't enough to keep Bencic at bay, not today. Advantage was in Bencic's favour, she returned the Croat's serve with interest and a backhand sailed wide into the tramlines. That was it, Bencic won, she looked at her team and gave cries of joy. Bencic will now face the World number 15 Bianca Andresscu. 

Bencic on the win

"Honestly through the tough times, it has helped me to see a different perspective as you can take it for granted when you can't play you miss it so much

I just really like a challenge, for me it is even more motivation for me playing big players, playing in a stadium like this, with a crowd like this, it really helps me" 

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