Bencic hopes to end 20-year Slam drought for Swiss women

Madiha Shakeel September 5, 2019

NEW YORK: No Swiss woman has won a Grand Slam singles title since Martina Hingis captured the 1999 Australian Open, but Belinda Bencic hopes to end that two-decade drought at the US Open.

And with Swiss legend Roger Federer and his three-time Grand Slam-winning countryman Stan Wawrinka ousted in the men’s quarter-finals, Bencic has extra motivation entering Thursday’s semi-finals at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“This is not a good thing. I’m not happy about this actually,” Bencic said of the Federer and Wawrinka losses. “I’m kind of surprised, like I think everyone is.

“It would be really nice if the boys could also make it to semi-finals but I’m happy I can kind of do it for them and don’t let them down.”

This year’s showdown at Flushing Meadows is the 83rd Slam since Hingis won the last of her five major singles titles.

Bencic will face Canadian teen 15th seed Bianca Andreescu, a fellow Slam semi debutante, for the first time Thursday at Arthur Ashe Stadium. She’s trying to become the first Canadian singles Grand Slam champion.

“That would be pretty awesome,” said Andreescu. “If it happens, then I think I can pave way for many other athletes, the next generation, not only for Canadian tennis but I think for many people.”

Ukraine’s fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina meets Serena Williams, seeking her 24th Slam title to match Margaret Court’s all-time record, in the other semi-final.

Bencic, seeded 13th, has battled back from 2017 left wrist surgery and other injuries that slowed her career for most of two seasons, winning her third WTA title in February at Dubai.

“She likes to be very aggressive,” Andreescu said. “She has a very good serve. She moves pretty well, too.”

The is Bencic’s deepest Slam run, surpassing her 2014 US Open debut last-eight appearance, but it comes after having had to battle adversity.

“It’s there like a dream always. Even when you are playing bad, you want to come back to this feeling. I think that’s the motivation enough to keep going,” Bencic said.

“For sure being number one in the world or winning a Grand Slam is always a dream. But I think it’s still a long way to that. Of course, I think you can see it there.

“The work and staying in the moment is more important right now. Just taking it step by step.”

Bencic has tried to stay calm on the court but has found that venting her frustrations can help her focus.

“I’m trying to work on my staying emotionally calm in the matches, but I have no trouble focusing after being angry a little bit,” she said.

“I think sometimes I need to get frustrated. I feel like I let it out. I feel a little bit better after. I start to play better I’m more pumped.”

– Teen’s best yet to come –

Andreescu warns she hasn’t reached her peak so far at Flushing Meadows.

“I don’t think I’ve played my best tennis,” she said. “I just fought really well with what I had every single day. I think that’s the most important thing for me.

“I just try to play every point like it’s the last.”

The Canadian hopes to become the fourth first-time Slam champion in five years to win the US Open women’s title.

“All of us dream of this moment ever since we’re kids, ever since we picked up a racquet,” she said. “I definitely think I’ve fought really hard to get to this point, so I think I do deserve to be here and hopefully I can go all the way.”

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Press), 2019

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