LINZ, Austria - Two days after saving match point in her rollercoaster opening match, former World No.7 Belinda Bencic is through to the quarterfinals at the Upper Austria Ladies Linz after a hard-fought win over Lara Arruabarrena.
Bencic, a wildcard, needed three sets and nearly two hours to see off the determined Spaniard 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 and reach her first WTA quarterfinal since June 2016.
After a stop-start season plagued with injuries, Bencic - who took three months off after undergoing surgery to her left wrist - made a winning return to tennis at the ITF level in September, where gained confidence from winning a title and reaching a semifinal.
Playing in her first WTA match since April, Bencic saved a match point to fight past a heart-attack inducing opening round against Kirsten Flipkens and bring up the clash against Arruabarrena.
The pair split sets to start the match, with Bencic doling out two breaks against Arruabarrena to grab the opening sets and Arruabarrena responding in kind to level the score.
Arruabarrena started the third with a break to the good, but Bencic quickly turned it around, reeling off four games in a row to get her nose back in front and march to victory.
Up next for Bencic, she’ll take on Romanian qualifier Mihaela Buzarnescu, whose 4-6, 7-6(1), 6-1 victory over Ajla Tomljanovic earlier in the day earned her a unique distinction. 29-year-old Buzarnescu, who is currently ranked No.105, will become the oldest player to make her Top 100 debut since Israel’s Tzipora Obziler made her Top 100 debut in 2007 at 33 years old.
More to follow...