NEW YORK, NY, USA - No.13 seed Belinda Bencic weathered a tough second-round test against Alize Cornet, outlasting her 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 on Court 17 to advance at the US Open.
“I think I stayed in the match very well,” Bencic told wtatennis.com. “I kind of adapted my game depending on her game. So I’m happy with my mentality today, that I fought hard.”
“I think in the second set I was a little bit impatient. And of course, she was playing well. In tennis, it’s the small things that can change the whole set.
“But then in the third set, I found my tactics again a little bit better. I found the right balance between being aggressive and staying in the rallies.”
The Dubai champion came into the US Open under an injury cloud after a left foot injury had her retiring from her opening match in Cincinnati. But after fighting past two rounds in Flushing Meadows, Bencic assured that she’s regained her rhythm.
“I think my level is at a good place,” she said. “I’ve played a lot of matches this season, so the confidence definitely doesn’t go away, the match play doesn’t go away. I’m happy with where I am right now.
“Of course, I think you can always improve yourself. There’s no limit, that’s what I’m trying to do.”
With the victory, Bencic sets up a clash with one of the most in-form players of the summer, No.21 Anett Kontaveit, who took down Ajla Tomljanovic 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.
“She will definitely be a good challenge,” Bencic acknowledged. “She’s proven many times that she’s a great player, solid player. So I think her game style is also to be aggressive and keep the rallies short, so I think I’ll prepare for that. We’ll do our homework and scout a little bit.”
Also in action, former French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko weathered an early wobble to take out Alison Riske 6-4, 6-3.
“I think in general it was a good match, except maybe for the first game,” Ostapenko told wtatennis.com, laughing. “I think there were seven double faults? But I still won that game. But I think, in general, I was playing well today.”
Indeed, seven of Ostapenko’s 17 double faults in the match came from the first game she played. She sharpened up considerably from that point on, totalling 25 winners and 53 unforced errors and converting six of the 10 break points she created.
“I think I was just rushing too much, and it was too windy,” Ostapenko said of the spate of double faults. “I didn’t understand what was going on, and my toss was moving around. It’s not that I wasn’t feeling my serve, it was just different conditions probably."
Up next, Ostapenko will take on American wildcard Kristie Ahn in the third round. The pair clashed earlier in the year in Bogota, where Ahn edged to a 2-6, 7-6(5), 7-5 victory.
“[In our last match] I think I had match points, and I lost that match,” Ostapenko said. “So yeah it’s going to be a tough match, but I think everything depends more on me and my game. If I play well, everything can happen.”
Joining Bencic and Ostapenko in the third round, No.32 seed Dayana Yastremska battled past Rebecca Peterson in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1 and books an intriguing battle against fellow Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, the No.5 seed, in the next round.
Meanwhile, Karolina Muchova outlasted the tricky No.29 seed Hsieh Su-Wei, 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(2) - her reward will be a clash against 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“It’s amazing [to play Serena next], it was also motivation for me to win today,” Muchova told press. “To get to play on Arthur Ashe, it’s super cool. I can’t wait to play there.
“It’s going to be completely different. I mean, she’s the greatest so I expect from her a good game, fast game. I will just try to do my best and try to enjoy the match.”
Other notable second-round victories include No.18 seed Wang Qiang taking down Alison Van Uytvanck. She’ll take on Fiona Ferro in the third round, after she claimed the victory in an all-French battle against Kristina Mladenovic, 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-3. No.12 seed Anastasija Sevastova ended 18-year-old Iga Swiatek’s run in a comeback win, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3, and No.30 seed Maria Sakkari is through with a 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-2 victory over qualifier Peng Shuai.