WTA 500, Sydney Tennis Classic 2022: Tokyo Olympics Gold medalist, Belinda Bencic starts her 2022 season with a win against Haddad Maia, 6-3, 6-2.
The Swiss star needed only 69 minutes to kick start her journey. She never faced breakpoint and broke her opponent thrice in four attempts.
“It’s very tricky to play the first match of the year. I actually felt well today,” Bencic said on-court in victory. “I think it’s just about taking it easy, not putting so much pressure at the start of the year, to just take time to get into it.”
Playing against Haddad Maia for the first time, Bencic had a history of success against left-handers to draw from—including a win over Marketa Vondrousova in Tokyo last summer to clinch gold.
In total in 2021, she posted a 9-2 record against left-handers, and Tuesday’s victory was her fifth win in a row against a lefty. Despite her recent success, Bencic confessed post-match.
Belinda Bencic: “I don’t really like [playing] lefties and last year, I felt like … I played lefties all the time. It’s really difficult to return, plus Bia’s very tall, and the spin is just different. It’s completely upside-down!”
Tomlajnovic beats Schmiedlova 6-2, 6-3.
The second-ranked Australian after Ashleigh Barty moves to the second round. The Slovak Karolina Schmiedlova was unable to match the Aussy’s higher level to eventually lose the battle.
After racing out to a one-set lead, buoyed by a 3-0 start, Tomljanovic rallied from that scoreline in the second set: trailing 3-0, and 0-40 on serve, the World No.45 won six straight games to wrap up the match.
Tomljanovic: “Those two sets, it was 2 and 3, but it felt like almost a three-setter. There were so many long rallies. I lost my focus a little bit to get down 3-0, but she played really well the whole match. I’m really happy to be through,” Tomljanovic said.
“She won two matches already and she’s used to the conditions a bit more, maybe … [at 0-3, 0-40], I was thinking that this might, most likely, go into a third but I still wanted to keep playing good tennis so I had the momentum going into the third. I guess that that mentality helps you to keep believing that you can turn things around as well.”
She will now face Paula Badosa in the second round, and it will be their first meeting.