The illustrious Martina Hingis has inspired her protégé, Belinda Bencic to win.
Martina has been a source of inspiration and a teacher to Bencic whose efforts finally bore fruit. Bencic is barely above 16 years of age and she has just defeated Jelena Jankovic.
That makes her the most youthful of female tennis players. That is at least since Hingis competed almost a decade and a half before today. 17-year-old Belinda Bencic is the youngest player to reach the quarters in a Grand Slam after Nicole Vaidisova who played in the 2006 French Open.
“It was always a dream to play on this court,’’ said Bencic. “I was overwhelmed. Everything was so huge.”
Bencic’s coach was none other than Martina’s mom. Her moves on the court caused both mother and daughter to be very proud of her. She has definitely done herself and her mentors a lot of good.
"I practiced with her on Sunday and I'm like, 'Wow, she played really good.' So I was, you know, expecting her to do well, but not as well as she actually did in the Wickmayer match," said Hingis.
"The technique, my mom puts a lot of attention to that. So the game, I mean, she's got a great backhand, as well," said Hingis.
"But also she's stronger, so she can work with other weapons than I had. I mean, maybe I was more maybe a little better mover, but when she hits a shot it can be a winner. Like she's hitting a lot more winners than did I. So it's different a little bit."
Bencic has said that she had always wished she could reach the top echelons of the game and that dream had become a reality today. She was simply too surprised and left speechless. Everything was larger than life.
Her match went in her favor due to certain mistakes committed by Jelena. Jelena missed a few opportunities due to her greater experience which made her more rigid instead of flexible.
Jankovic has meanwhile acknowledged her faults and foibles. She accepted complete responsibility for the flaws in her execution and delivery that led to Bencic gaining an edge.
And when Bencic had the upper hand it was just a matter of time before she won fair and square. Beyond a certain point it was a downward spiral for Jankovic whose advanced moves in fact worked against her. And her loss proved to be Bencic’s victory.
“It was up to me. I had to raise my level. I needed to play a lot better on those important moments,’’ Jenkovic said.
“I was serving for the set. There’s no excuse for that, I should’ve served it out. I had everything in my hands in my control. I just let it slip away. … That’s what separates the better players from the rest. You’ve got to play those big points well and tonight I did not do that.
“I had my chances serving for three set points. What more can I ask for? It’s up to me to do it, but I didn’t. She took advantage of that and I went downhill.’’
The next big challenge for Bencic will be the faceoff against the Chinese Peng Shuai and she has a reputation for being an unbeatable and tenacious player.
It will indeed be a great test for Belinda Bencic who will have to pay extra special attention to each and every shot and parry. The skills both tennis she-warriors bring to the court will be the deciding factor for the next match.
“It was amazing. At the beginning I was too impressed. I didn’t play well. I was not nervous, but just overwhelmed from everything. After I got used to it,’’ said Bencic.
“Yeah, for sure, I got some advice because she played her and knows her so well. … She told me to hold the rallies. I have to be aggressive. I had to pay attention to her backhand down the line. I knew she was doing that a lot … so I tried to push it to her forehand.’’
"You know, she has her style like I had mine, but she improved a lot. Every three months you can see improvements," said Hingis. "Also, the big difference is like the belief that you can actually win against big players, great players, seeded players in Grand Slams. I'm very happy for her that she was able to do that."
Belinda is confident although one can only surmise that she feels the heebie-jeebies and has a case of the collywobbles due to the intense competition.