Belinda Bencic did what many great tennis players have never done in their careers. On Saturday night, the 18 year old from Switzerland earned a dream that came true defeating Serena Williams at the Rogers Cup semifinal. The soon to be 15th ranked player in the world defeated the number one ranked player in the world with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 on centre court at the Aviva Tennis Centre at York University.
The chance for Bencic to continue her dominating upset of some of the worlds best gets back into action against the best in the world. Between her and Williams, the series has been brief but nothing unsurprising to fans. Williams took their opening round matchup at the Madrid Masters last year allowing the then 17-year-old just three games before being ousted in straight sets.
The world number one only played three sets just once since the start of the Rogers Cup. Since then she has coasted to victory with no one seeming to be able to stop her shot. In the event that the teen defeats her, Williams will find that Bencic is a force to be reckoned with.
After the brief tie in the first two games, Williams opened the throttle and took off from the teenager. The number one ranked player won game after game winning breaks and hold serve to take a 4-1 lead. Game Six was Bencic’s second chance at besting the American. After two breaks in the game, the victory went to Williams who broke Bencic a second time before winning her fourth straight on serve.
The Swiss teen worked what magic she had left on her racket to break Williams in Game Seven gaining some leverage while it was still possible to break ahead. Despite the third victory on serve, Williams still found time to win the match and did so on a double set point to end the set in 35 minutes
Bencic opened the second set with a victory before handing the serve to Williams where she would gain a win of her own. By the time service returned to Bencic she made her best offensive attack striking a victory to take the lead against the number one. Williams was able to strike back but with the consistency of Bencic’s offense, she staved off the American from overtaking the set and held herself ahead after five games.
Williams pushed the set into a tie making a clear indication to Bencic that enough was enough. She played every point like it was her last and the funny part would be that she never saw it. The 18 year old opened up to 5-3 serving for the set to press Williams into a crucial third set to determine the finalist that would take on Halep.
When it came to winning a set from Williams, the word easy was never a thought. Bencic found that out in Game Nine as her opponent fought back on deuce to take the win and threaten an extension of the set.
Williams successfully did so pushing the set onward until either her or Bencic could capture the set. The Swiss miss was first to strike fighting through another dramatic run on deuce to take the important lead and play for the set a third time. In a surprise turn of events, Bencic held the break in Game 12 to take a 7-5 win and push the match to its limit.
A stunning event occurred on court in the third set where she kept her strategy well against Williams to break her serve for a third straight time. The dominance continued as she would break her a fourth while holding her own serve so well that the crowd was in complete interest and shock. The Swiss teenager was up 4-0 on Williams in a feat not many players could pull off.
With just two wins to go, Bencic knew what she had to do. Game Five became a point of a must win for Williams as she was in the biggest whole at the worst time. On mistakes made by Bencic, Williams easily picked up points to break serve and go back to serve to try and change things up. They didn’t, as Bencic earned another big win to be the one serving for the match in Game Eight.
It wasn’t meant to happen as she found herself recovering from ground lost. In the end she was unable to force deuce with a pair of unforced errors keeping Williams alive for another game. Bencic started to feel the pressure as Williams continued her climb in the set while the Swiss looked for the ultimate win. Two more games went by with Bencic on the verge of blowing her entire lead. She led 5-4 with the serve back in the hands of the American who continued to rattle the Swiss to the point of being ousted instead.
Game Ten was a do or die moment for Bencic to play the best game of her life or face a devastating loss. She got into a 30-30 tie before winning a crucial point on the backhand to take back the lead. The victory came at a point where she was in her final chance to put Williams out of the tournament. It arrived in a dramatic volley where her last shot went away from William to end the 2 hour and 2 minute ordeal. Fireworks flew into the sky with the 18 year old in shock that she just did what not many have accomplished.
“I really don’t know how I did it,” Bencic said to CBC Sports during her on court interview The first set was just too fast for me but I adapted to the game very good in the second and I was just fighting how much I could and I had 5-1 and so happy to have closed it out.” When asked about what she would say to her parents Bencic got very emotional showing the tremor in her words as she spoke.
She goes on to play for the Rogers Cup against Simona Halep who is the only player to have beaten Williams on a hard court. “I’m not thinking about the title right now,” Bencic said about her final match. “Well see if Simona Halep is a very tough opponent so I will just keep fighting.”