Brilliant Bencic belts Kasatkina in Adelaide

SWISS star Belinda Bencic has dominated her way through the Adelaide International final en route to a WTA 500 title. Winning her first title in Australia, the number eight seed completely took Russian fifth seed Daria Kasatkina to the cleaners in the opening set before running out a 6-0 6-2 winner in just 67 minutes on court.

In strange set of circumstances, both players had their opponents withdraw from their respective semi-finals the day before, as Paula Badosa (injury) and Veronika Kudermetova (management) meant the finalists had an extra day’s recovery. Showing her experience, Bencic raced to a 6-0 lead in the opening set, barely giving Kasatkina a chance to breathe and only conceding eight points for the entire set.

Though the Russian put up more of a fight in the second set, Bencic was still able to break her twice and record an impressive win ahead of an important Australian Open campaign. While many of their peers decided to use the week to rest up ahead of the first Grand Slam of the year, both players have gained extra match practice just three days from kicking off at the Australian Open.

Bencic had a wild week, rolling past former world number one Garbine Muguruza in the opening round, then picking up victories over two Top 10 players in Kasatkina and world number four, Caroline Garcia. The title marked the seventh of her career, and going one better than her best previous effort in Adelaide where she lost the 2021 final to Iga Swiatek.

“I’m happy I could show my work here on the court,” Bencic said post-match. “I thought I played some great matches from the start of the tournament and also against different kind of opponents so I really could test myself out there in every way and just go confidently into the Australian Open.”

Bencic only dropped three points off her first serve, and while her second serve was still shaky – six of 15 – she was able to never face a break point, and instead convert five of seven off Kasatkina’s serve. The Russian struggled from start to finish to find rhythm, winning just 42.4 and 27.3 per cent of her first and second serve points.

Moving into the Top 10 once again after the result, 12th seed Bencic will take on Bulgarian Viktoriya Tomova in the opening round of the Australian Open. Kasatkina – eighth seed at Melbourne Park – will lock horns with fellow Russian Varvara Gracheva.

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