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Bencic vs Martic WTA Charleston live streaming, preview and tips - Bencic aiming to reach second Charleston semi-final

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 5 Apr 2019
  • Belinda Bencic vs Petra Martic is live from Charleston at 1.00pm local time on Friday (6.00pm BST)
  • First career meeting between the pair
Belinda Bencic (PA Images)

Belinda Bencic looks to continue her impressive form when she takes on Petra Martic for a place in the Volvo Car Open semi-finals on Friday.

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Dubai champion Belinda Bencic targets her second semi-final at the Volvo Car Open on the green clay in Charleston when she squares off against Petra Martic on Friday.

A semi-finalist in Charleston on her debut appearance at the tournament in 2014, beating the likes of Elina Svitolina, Maria Kirilenko and Sara Errani along the way, Bencic is one win away from making it back to the final four in 2019, following victories over Destanee Aiava, Allie Kiick and Taylor Townsend. Bencic hasn’t dropped a set in any of those triumphs and hadn’t lost more than three games in a set until the second set of her R16 clash with the unorthodox Townsend on Thursday, but she still managed to complete a relatively comfortable 6-2 7-5 win and secure her spot in the quarter-finals.

"It's so tricky to play Taylor, so I'm happy to win somehow," Bencic said after her win.
"The key was to put pressure on her. She's got spin that can make you uncomfortable. If you give her time, she's going to spin you off court and make you run. I just tried to play with smart tactics."

A former World No. 7 before dropping out of the top 300 a couple of years ago due to multiple injury problems, Bencic is back playing some of her best tennis this season. The Swiss, who is still just 22 years of age, put together an incredible 12-match winning streak between February and March, helping Switzerland to a Fed Cup victory before going on a magical run at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, conquering four top 10 players on the trot, including Aryna Sabalenka, Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina and Petra Kvitova in the final.

Bencic went on to reach the semi-finals of the Premier Mandatory BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells at her next tournament, claiming the scalp of World No. 1 and defending champion Naomi Osaka in the fourth round and Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals before she was eventually stopped by Angelique Kerber. In total, half of her 12-match winning streak was over top 10 players and propelled Bencic back inside the top 20, and although she would have been disappointed with an opening round exit in Miami to Yulia Putintseva, the loss was perhaps a blessing in disguise as it’s enabled her to rest up and return to top form in Charleston this week.


Meanwhile, Petra Martic is another player who knows all about coming back from serious and long injury lay-offs. The Croatian was ranked outside the top 600 two years ago as she struggled with numerous injury problems, most notably a back issue that kept her off the tour for 10 months between 2016 and 2017. However, Martic compiled an excellent resurgence upon her return to the tour, beginning on the humble surroundings of the ITF circuit before making an impact at the highest level, coming from qualifying to make the fourth rounds at the 2017 French Open and Wimbledon.

Martic would also reach the fourth round of the 2018 Australian Open and scored her first top 10 win since 2012 when she beat Jelena Ostapenko on her way to the Indian Wells quarter-finals. The 28-year-old went on to finish runner-up at the WTA International-level event on the clay of Bucharest and won the WTA 125k title in Chicago towards the end of the season to finish the year at a career-high No. 32 in the world. Martic has since dropped to No. 53 after failing to defend her Indian Wells quarter-final points (she lost in the first round to Magda Linette), but she’s back on track this week in Charleston, beating Amanda Anisimova, Mandy Minella and Jessica Pegula to reach her first quarter-final of 2019.

This will be the first career meeting between Bencic and Martic on Friday. Martic’s game is well-suited to clay, and coupled with her aggressive nature, she’s a very dangerous opponent. However, Bencic is the player who has been in great form and she’s been storming through the draw this week with minimal fuss. I wouldn’t be surprised if this match went the distance, but I think Bencic’s confidence at the moment will propel her to victory in the crucial moments.


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Bencic vs Martic WTA Charleston live streaming, preview and tips - Bencic aiming to reach second Charleston semi-final

Belinda Bencic looks to continue her impressive form when she takes on Petra Martic for a place in the Volvo Car Open semi-finals on Friday.

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