LONDON, Great Britain - Thus far at Grand Slams in 2018, Belinda Bencic has had a flair for the dramatic.
The former World No.7 moved into the third round of Wimbledon for the third time in four career main draw appearances on Thursday, saving four match points to defeat American Alison Riske, 1-6, 7-6(10), 6-2.
The Swiss also saved multiple match points en route to another thrilling Grand Slam win at Roland Garros in a first round victory over Italian qualifier Deborah Chiesa, and followed up a first-round upset of No.6 seed Caroline Garcia on the London lawns with another thrilling comeback.
Bencic withstood nearly 50 winners from the American's racquet over the course of two hours and 24 minutes, as the former Nottingham runner-up and noted grass court aficionado had all four of her match points in the second set tiebreak after losing an early set and a break advantage.
Nonetheless, the former Eastbourne champion and 2013 junior Wimbledon champion also plays her best on grass, and hit 35 winners of her own to just 16 errors over the course of the victory.
"I'm not really sure what turned it around. I guess just some key moments where I just stayed in the match...but I think I just really tried to fight until the end. I think that turned it around," Bencic said after the match.
"I think she was playing unbelievable. I think the grass court suits her really well for her game. It's just unbelievably tough to play her.
"I mean, she's played well before on grass, you know, had some big wins. I think every year she's playing good, so she was a very tough opponent."
Riske powered her way to a 6-1, 2-1 lead with serve over the course of the first hour of the match, as the American's flat, aggressive hitting proved too much for the Swiss No.1 to handle.
However, Bencic generated her first break points of the encounter in a key fourth game, where she finally got the set back on serve on her fourth chance, and worked her way into the match from there.
The pair went with serve for the duration of the second set in contrasting fashion, as Bencic saved a break point in the seven game and pushed through a pair of marathon games on serve, but the Swiss was unable to break through in her next opportunity.
The American saved a set point in the 12th game to force a tiebreak, but lost a 5-3 lead in it and was unable to win any of the four match points she held on her serve before Bencic forced a decider.
After missing Wimbledon last year - one of three Grand Slams she missed in total after wirst surgery - Bencic will look to return to the fourth round for the second time in her career against No.27 seed Carla Suárez Navarro, who had little trouble in dispatching qualifier and compatriot Sara Sorribes Tormo, 6-4, 6-1.
Other early results around the grounds saw two matches held over from Wednesday get completed. No.23 seed and former Wimbledon quarterfinalist Barbora Strycova eased past Lesia Tsurenko, 6-1, 6-4 to book a spot in the third round opposite No.13 seed Julia Goerges, while Katerina Siniakova rallied from 5-2 down in the third set to defeat wildcard Ons Jabeur, 5-7, 6-4, 9-7.