HOBART, Australia - Belinda Bencic battled through a tricky opening match at the Hobart International, taking down No.2 seed Mihaela Buzarnescu - last year’s runner up - en route to the second round.
Coming off of a great week in Perth, where she partnered with Roger Federer to lift the Hopman Cup, Bencic took to Tasmania to make her Hobart debut. The Swiss needed two hours and 36 minutes to convert her fifth match point and win 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.
“It was an incredible, up and down match,” Bencic said afterward. “It was very hard work. All matches are hard work, but this one especially with the wind. I knew it was never going to be a 6-2, 6-2, because it’s windy out here for both of us.
“I just focused on bringing as many balls back as possible - it’s so tricky to have any good rallies in these conditions. It’s not possible to make any sort of tactics, so I just tried to hit balls and make her miss and not me.”
With the wind wreaking havoc on both of their games, Bencic and Buzarnescu started the match with little rhythm. The Romanian broke twice in the opening set as Bencic’s serve floundered, giving Buzarnescu plenty of opportunities to attack.
In the second set Bencic played a tidier set of tennis, needing just one break of serve to kick off her comeback, edging ahead at 4-2 and closing it out with confidence. It would be the completely opposite story in the third set, which featured nine breaks between the pair. After seeing two match points slip away off her own racquet at 5-4, Bencic redeemed herself a few games later to claim the win.
After the match, Bencic acknowledged that the windy conditions in Hobart were frustrating, making it difficult for the Swiss to play her best tennis.
“I’m a really emotional player, so sometimes I would feel like the wind was against me and I would get frustrated, but I had to remember it was happening to both of us,” she said.
“Sometimes the emotions help me, to kick myself off to play better. Sometimes I do it too much, but that’s just who I am. I’m never going to be the player that never shows any emotion.”
The Swiss also spoke highly of her experience during the Hopman Cup, which saw her go 1-3 in singles en route to winning the tournament with Federer.
“I take a lot of positives from that tournament. I always love to play the Hopman Cup, I had four great matches there so I had good match practice for the rest of the season. And I played great players, which is always an amazing experience.”
Up next in Hobart, Bencic will face the winner between Johanna Larsson and Australian wildcard Zoe Hives in the second round.