Probably the first time many people heard of 18-year-old Belinda Bencic was last week when she upset No. 1 Serena Williams in the semifinals of the Rogers Cup in Toronto.
Some of the ESPN talk shows thought it was more about Williams and she wouldn’t be so fortunate if they meet again at the US Open.
They might be right, but they shouldn’t write off Bencic without knowing something about her.
Bencic made a splash in March, when she upset former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-4 to reach the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open. Wozniacki had reached the US Open final six months earlier. What made the victory even more impressive is that Wozniacki had double-bageled her in Istanbul in their previous meeting.
What was impressive about Bencic is she didn’t lead a 6-0, 6-0 loss derail her. She’s continued to rise. Now she’s No. 12 and could go up even higher by the US Open.
Here’s a look back at the story I wrote for the BNP Paribas Open website on Bencic. http://www.bnpparibasopen.com/en/media-and-news/news/2015/03/16/bencic-upsets-wozniacki
At the Rogers Cup, Bencic had to defeat six top-25 players to win the title: No. 25 Eugenie Bouchard in the first round, No. 5 Wozniacki in the second, No. 24 Sabine Lisicki in the third round, No. 6 Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round and then No. 3 Simona Halep in the final.
Last year, Bencic reached the quarterfinals of the US Open, which helped her win the WTA Newcomer of the Year award.
In 2013, Bencic won the Wimbledon and French Open girls junior titles.
A Swiss player, Bencic is getting help from Melanie Molitor, the mother of Martina Hingis. And the Swiss players are having quite a year. Timea Bacsinszky has had quite a comeback year this season.
But Bencic has proven she is the future of the WTA. The way she’s playing, the future could be now.