INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA -- No.23 seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland continued her outstanding run of form in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday, dispatching Alison van Uytvanck of Belgium, 6-4, 6-1.
"It was very tricky, I think Alison’s a great player, she has a lot of variation in her game so I definitely had to be ready for that," Bencic told the press, after her win. "In the first set I was struggling a little bit, trying to find my rhythm, my timing. And then the second set, after winning the first, I was a little bit more confident, and I went for my shots more."
After her 73-minute win over World No.51 van Uytvanck, Bencic is now on a nine-match winning streak in total, four of those being consecutive wins over Top 10 players in the final four rounds of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, where she won her first WTA singles title since 2015.
"Of course you won the last week, but it’s a new start, you have to win again," said Bencic. "Every first round is very difficult, and I always feel very relieved when I win it, and I’m more relaxed into the second round."
Van Uytvanck was also on a six-match winning streak coming into her meeting with Bencic, having just won her third career WTA singles title in Budapest last month, followed by her first-round win at Indian Wells over Alison Riske.
But after two exchanges of breaks en route to a 4-4 tie in the first set, Bencic took control of the match. The Swiss player took advantage of a double fault and backhand error by the Belgian to go up a break at 5-4, then held at love to seal the first set.
Van Uytvanck held to open the second set, but Bencic did not falter from that point on, reeling off six straight games. In fact, van Uytvanck had five game points between her next two service games, but Bencic came back in both of those instances to clinch service breaks, jumping out to a 4-1 lead.
On game point for 5-1, an outstanding rally between the women at the net went Bencic's way after the Swiss player punctuated that point with a volley winner. In the next game, Bencic set up match point with a backhand crosscourt winner, and she broke van Uytvanck for the third straight time after a long miscue by the Belgian, ending the clash.
Meanwhile, former Top 25 player Mona Barthel of Germany earned a Top 20 win when she upset No.17 seed Madison Keys of the United States, 3-6, 6-1, 7-5, after just over two hours of play. Barthel, currently ranked World No.97, broke the big-hitting Keys three times in the final set to seal victory, including twice after Keys stepped to the line to serve for the match at 5-4 in the decider.
Belgian qualifier Ysaline Bonaventure executed a comeback of her own as she surprised No.28 seed Donna Vekic of Croatia, 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-4. Bonaventure has now won four matches this week after losing the first set -- twice in qualifying and again in the first round of the main draw against Taylor Townsend.
No.24 seed Lesia Tsurenko avoided an upset, as the Ukrainian beat Jessica Pegula of the United States, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4. Pegula served for the match at 5-4 in the second set before 2018 US Open quarterfinalist Tsurenko broke the American twice to level the match at one set apiece. Tsurenko then came back from an early break down in the third set to win after two hours and nine minutes.
In other second-round results, No.11 seed Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia defeated American wild card Madison Brengle, 6-3, 6-4, No.21 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia ousted 2016 Olympic champion Monica Puig of Puerto Rico, 6-3, 7-6(4), and No.25 seed Danielle Collins of the United States eased past Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens, 6-4, 6-1.
Additionally, Russian qualifier Natalia Vikhlyantseva blew by No.26 seed Carla Suarez Navarro, 6-2, 6-0. However, another Russian was an upset victim, as American qualifier Christina McHale outlasted No.30 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.