Wimbledon 2015: Martina Hingis' support helps teen prospect Belinda Bencic battle on

Also: Maria Sharapova found Irina-Camelia Begu stiffer opposition than expected

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The Independent Online

Being dubbed “the new Martina Hingis” is a tag that Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic could do without, but she is happy to accept mentoring advice from her compatriot as well as coaching from her mother, Melanie Molitor.

Hingis, champion here in 1997 before burning out, was courtside again when Bencic required a 10-minute break for treatment before recovering from 5-1 down to beat the experienced American, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 7-5, 7-5.

It turned out not be a serious recurrence of the knee injury sustained while winning the Eastbourne tournament and the respite might have given Bencic useful thinking time while her bandage was  re-taped.

After dropping her serve and facing a set point on the resumption, she reeled off six games in a row to take the first set and eventually took the second by the same score with two backhand winners.

First taken under Molitor’s wing at a young age, she still receives coaching from her father, who travels with her, but is specially pleased to have her heroine, Martina, in close attendance. “Of course it always feels nice and I’m happy when she comes to watch my match and when she helps me,” Bencic said following yesterday’s victory. “Also we call Melanie, my coach, all the time, and she gives me also advice against top players.”

Wimbledon girls’ champion two years ago, Bencic, who is 18, will now play Viktoria Azarenka, seeded seven places higher at 23.


By the round of 32 , all those left in should theoretically be seeds, and leading players who have come through two easy matches can expect something tougher.

Before coming through 6-4, 6-3, Maria Sharapova duly found Irina-Camelia Begu, the Romanian 29th seed, providing stiffer opposition than hitherto this week.

At 5ft 11in, Begu looked less physically intimidated than many of Sharapova’s opponents. Begu, whose preparations on grass at Birmingham and Eastbourne had both been limited by first-round defeats, had regained confidence on the surface with two wins here. She was not afraid to come to the net either, which contributed to an entertaining first set before she began to run out of steam.

Breaking the former champion’s serve in the first game suggested a show-court appearance would not overawe her and one cheeky drop volley early on confirmed it. Although broken back immediately, she clung on until  4-5, then overhit in a long rally and was opened up cleverly by Sharapova to concede the first set.

It had taken almost 45 minutes. Even after falling 5-0 behind in the second, Begu refused to go quietly, suddenly winning three games in a row – one of them with a second-serve ace – before finally submitting.

The unseeded American, CoCo Vandeweghe, proved no respecter of seeds, however, by following up victory over Karolina Pliskova with another straight sets win, demolishing the Australian, Sam Stosur, 6-2, 6-0.  “A bit of a shocker.  It was capitulation,” Stosur admitted.