Belinda Bencic fought through a monster opening set against Iga Swiatek before finally taming the 2020 Roland Garros winner 7-6(12), 6-3 on Monday for a quarter-final place in the US Open.

Switzerland’s Olympic gold medalist, a semi-finalist here in 2019, earned payback for a 2 and 2 loss to her Polish opponent in the February WTA final in Adelaide.

The 11th seed needed 86 minutes to win the opening set, whose 23-minute tiebreak lasted for almost one third of the entire set time.

Bencic, who double-faulted while up a break in the set to allow Swiatek back in for 5-all, finally got the opening set in the bag on her fifth opportunity after holding off four potential set-winners from seventh seed Swiatek in the marathon tiebreaker.

The second set went the Swiss player’s way, with Bencic breaking for 3-1 and finishing off on her second match point when Swiatek went wide on a return after just over two hours. 

“The first set was so even, in a tiebreak it’s always a little bit about luck,” Bencic said. 

“I started more relaxed in the second set in this great atmosphere.

“I’m really happy I was able to win, I’m happy to be through.

“All of my matches have been tough but today was more challenging for me. Parts of her game are uncomfortable for me.

“I’m not so happy with how I played but I’m glad to be into the quarter-finals.”

Bencic will be playing her third quarter-final in New York – by far her best Grand Slam – facing the eventual winner from British teenager Emma Raducanu and Shelby Rogers of the US.

The winner is into the last eight without losing a set so far and has been broken only three times since last week’s start.

Main photo: Belinda Bencic in round 4 – Darren Carroll/USTA


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