DOHA, Qatar – Belinda Bencic has qualified for the quarterfinals of the Qatar Total Open for the first time, with the No.4 seed overcoming Yulia Putintseva, 6-4, 6-3.
The Swiss came into this match trailing her Kazak opponent 3-1 in terms of their career head-to-head but was the dominant force throughout this match, leading from the start and reaching her third quarterfinal of the year after Adelaide and St Petersburg in one hour 30 minutes.
She struck out into a healthy early advantage and saw off the Putintseva comeback then made a similarly quick start to the second set to ensure her passage through.
Bencic had spent more than two and a half hours on court dismissing Veronika Kudermetova in a lengthy three set duel in the previous round but showed few signs of rust as she moved confidently into a 5-2 lead.
An early break aided her cause, while Putintseva, who gifted that advantage to her opponent courtesy of a double fault, failed to reprise the form that she had shown in overcoming Elise Mertens, the No.16 seed.
The WTA World No.32 is noted for her fighting spirit, which was evident as she set about closing the deficit, but after getting the set back on serve, the constant pressure emanating from Bencic’s racquet proved too much as the 22-year-old broke to seal the set after an engrossing game.
A similarly strong start to the second put Bencic firmly in command of the match, breaking courtesy of some neat courtcraft that saw her work the 25-year-old smartly around the court.
Successive love holds propelled her to within two games of victory, though on a couple of occasions she squandered the chance to secure a double break.
What followed was a pivotal nine-minute game, in which Putintseva twice had opportunities to get back on serve. Netting two returns off Bencic second serves would cost her dear, as the first allowed the Swiss off the hook and the second saw her take the game.
A first straight-sets victory over Putintseva was sealed with a confident service game in which she held to love.
Bencic, who had not won in Doha before this week, is now into the quarterfinals, where she will face WTA World No.46 Svetlana Kuznetsova, who had a walkover against Amanda Anisimova, who had to withdraw due to illness.