Friday is going to be awesome and i’m freeeee as a bird so I should be able to watch plenty of tennis! The second match on Ashe (not before 1pm local time and 6pm in the UK) will see Belinda Bencic attempt to score her first ever win against Venus Williams. In their three previous matches, Venus has rolled to victories in Luxembourg (6-3 6-1, 2012), Paris (6-4 6-1, 2014) and Dubai (6-1 6-2, 2015).
Both players have had to battle to reach the third round of the US Open. Bencic was on the brink in her second round match against Misaki Doi, saving three match points to stay alive in the tournament. Bencic failed to convert on eight set points in the second set before Doi came within one point of the upset win as she went up 7-5 6-5 40-0* on Bencic’s serve. Bencic won five points in a row to force a tiebreak and then went onto win the match, not losing her serve again in a wild, 5-7 7-6(3) 6-3 victory. It’s safe to say @WTAReactions on Twitter had a field day with this one…
Venus Williams has been forced to three sets in her first two matches, dropping the second set in both matches on the tiebreak. Venus defeated Monica Puig in the first round, 6-4 6-7(7) 6-3 and Irina Falconi in the second round, 6-3 6-7(2) 6-2. Venus has struggled since Wimbledon, losing her first round matches in Istanbul and Toronto to Kateryna Bondarenko and Sabine Lisicki respectively, before having to pull out of Cincy with a viral illness. I wonder how much these two matches may have taken out of her.
This is another sure-to-be compelling watch. Venus has always dominated this match-up; she played an exceptionally clean match when they last played in Dubai. Bencic hadn’t got going this year when they last played and was nowhere near as confident as she will be now. Although Bencic has suffered some one-sided losses against Venus in the past, she’s done extremely well at turning around losses against some of the best players on tour… Serena Williams, Ana Ivanovic and Sabine Lisicki to name three in one tournament. Also, winning tight matches like the one against Doi from such a precarious postion can be huge for the confidence if you survive. If Venus finds her clean, clinical and ultra-aggressive tennis, Belinda is in trouble. However, Venus’s recent form has been a little patchy and being forced to three sets in both her matches was not favourable. I think this is going to be another match-up that Belinda finds a way to turn around.
Prediction: Bencic d. V.Williams in 2 sets