I’m all in for this match-up… Bethanie Mattek-Sands produced the performance of the day on Wednesday to oust the number seven seed, Ana Ivanovic and set up a third round meeting with Belinda Bencic. In my preview for the Mattek-Sands v Ivanovic match, I said that I felt it had the potential for an upset but I wasn’t brave enough to call it! Beth maintained her aggressive gameplan for the entire match, continually rushing Ivanovic and killing it at the net. Beth is so dynamic on this surface and her confidence must also be high from her success in doubles this year where she has won three Grand Slam titles. Beth has now won five consecutive matches on the grass. However, Belinda matches and raises that with six consecutive wins (not counting retirement wins over Bouchard and Wozniacki in Eastbourne)
Bencic won her first title in Eastbourne and has battled through her first two matches of the week, needing three sets to get past Tsvetana Pironkova and Anna-Lena Friedsam. The first round match against Pironkova had the potential to turn into a heartbreaker. Bencic was in tears as she failed to serve out the match in the third set. She gritted her teeth to overcome a leg injury and win the match. There was a challenge on match point that didn’t go Belinda’s way but she still saw the funny side of it.
Bencic didn’t seemed hindered physically against Friedsam. The German player had her moments, darting around the court and not afraid to come into the net. Friedsam recovered an early break to get back on level terms in the first set, but her consistency faltered as Bencic won 12 of the last 15 points to win the opening set. Friedsam kept holding in the second set and then pounced when Bencic served to stay in the set. Friedsam eventually took advantage of a big double fault down from the Swiss player down set point. Bencic responded admirably though with a fine third set performance, hitting just one unforced error and losing just one point on her serve as Friedsam appeared to tire.
Bencic and Mattek-Sands will play each other for the first time on the tour. Have I mentioned I am excited for this match?! The pair have such different game styles and I think it will be a really entertaining watch. I’m fascinated to see how Bencic will deal with Mattek-Sands on grass. I’m surprised to see this match on court 18 because it will be Belinda’s third match in a row on this court. Mattek-Sands will win the match if she plays like she did against Ivanovic. However, I think it will be a tough ask for Beth to deliver such a clean match again particularly when you look at the consistency of her results this year.
Not easy to choose but i’m going for BB…
Prediction: Bencic d. Mattek-Sands in 3 sets