MALLORCA, Spain -- No.3 seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland kept her Mallorca Open tournament debut rolling on Friday, eliminating No.5 seed Amanda Anisimova of the United States, 6-2, 6-2, to reach the semifinals of the grass-court event.
"The first time [on grass] is very special because you wait all year to get on the grass again," said Bencic, after her win. "I feel like with every match, you figure out more what works on grass and what doesn’t."
World No.13 Bencic, who won the first of her three career WTA singles titles on grass at Eastbourne in 2015, needed just 62 minutes to eliminate the 27th-ranked American teenager in their first meeting, and moved into her fifth semifinal of the 2019 season.
Bencic finished the match with 19 winners to 11 unforced errors, and she converted six of 11 break points and fired four aces during the tilt. Anisimova, who reached the quarterfinals of her first WTA grass-court event this week, had her 17 winners nullified by 26 unforced errors.
"I found I was helping myself a lot with the serve, so I’m really happy about that," Bencic stated. "I feel like I played good."
In the final four, Bencic will now face one of two players who have won grass-court titles over the last 12 months: top seed and reigning Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber of Germany, or last week’s Nottingham titlist Caroline Garcia. Kerber and Garcia will square off in their quarterfinal clash later on Friday.
"Either way, against Angie or Caroline, it’s going to be very difficult," Bencic said. "I’m just enjoying right now, I reached the semifinals, it’s more than I expect. I’m going to watch this match tonight and see the plan."
Following an exchange of service breaks in the first two games of the match, Anisimova held for a 2-1 lead with back-to-back points ending with backhand crosscourt winners. From that juncture forward, however, Bencic took control of the opener. The Swiss started her dominant first-set run by breaking an error-prone Anisimova at love for a 3-2 lead.
The Bencic forehand forced more errors from the American at the end of the 4-2 game, which led to a second break for the No.3 seed. Serving for the set at 5-2, excellent returning by Anisimova helped her to save two set points, but a winning drop volley set Bencic up with a third. There, a netted error by the 5th-seeded teenager gave Bencic the one-set advantage.
Anisimova kept fighting in the second set, fending off three break points in the opening game before clinching a well-earned service hold with her only ace of the match. The American teen dropped her next service game, but pulled her way back to 2-2 with well-timed, aggressive groundstrokes.
But, as in the opening set, Bencic wrested control down the stretch. The Swiss player struck right back, breaking Anisimova at love to go up 3-2, after the American hit two double faults in that game. Bencic then claimed a second break to lead 5-2 by erasing a game point, knocking a forehand winner crosscourt to bring up break point, and then converting for the sturdy advantage.
Anisimova continued to battle in the final game, saving one match point with a backhand winner, and reaching break point after a wide forehand by Bencic. But the Swiss player was not rattled, and she reeled off an unreturnable serve and two aces in the last three points to slam the door and seal her spot in the semifinals.