Cincinnati - Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic maintained her recent
giant-killing form at the ATP and WTA Cincinnati Masters here on Tuesday with a
battling 7-5, 6-3 win over higher-ranked German opponent Angelique Kerber.
Bencic, 18, is brimming with confidence after winning in Toronto at the
weekend after a tournament which included a stunning semi-final defeat of Grand
Slam-chasing world number one Serena Williams.
The teenager, coached by Melanie Molitor, mother of Martina Hingis, said
on Tuesday she was pleased with her mental strength after recovering from 5-1 down
in the first set to defeat 11th seed Kerber.
"I'm so happy that I could win," she said of her Toronto title.
"It was very nice from the crowd, the great atmosphere on the court. I
just tried to fight for every point.
"It's amazing that I could beat so many players so high ranking and top
players in the same week.
"I think I definitely improved my tennis, and I hope I can bring it
also to here."
Bencic, whose ranking has now reached 12 after her win in Toronto, reeled
off four games in succession to level the first set 5-5 after trailing early on
She then broke for 6-5 and took the set a game later.
In the second she began with a break on the way to the win.
"I don't need to adjust my goals because I don't set them like
particularly for the ranking," she said.
"I just look from match to match. I would never expect to be number 12
Elsewhere on Tuesday, Sloane Stephens took down another seed as she beat number
10 Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1, 6-2.
France's Kristina Mladenovic overcame Daniela Hantuchova 6-2, 6-1; Flavia
Pennetta defeated former Australian Open finalist Domenika Cibulkova 7-5, 6-2.
Mona Barthel beat Australian Casey Dellacqua in a 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4)
comeback while Caroline Garcia beat Sabine Lisicki 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Former number one Victoria Azarenka reached the second round 6-1, 6-2 over
But the Belarus player hinted at a non-critical medical issue which she
refused to specify, only to say that she is now working with doctors to deal
"I would just like to keep it for myself at the moment. I'm fine, I'm
not in danger. I'm not sick or something," she said.
In the men's draw, US Open winner Marin Cilic, the seventh seed, beat Joao
Sousa 6-4, 6-2, while Spain's Feliciano Lopez stopped Canadian Milos Raonic 7-6
(7/4), 6-4 as the ninth seed lost an opening match for the second straight
Sam Querrey put out John Isner 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) and South African 15th seed
Kevin Anderson defeated Leonardo Mayer 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 6-1.
Controversial Nick Kyrgios was dumped out, a 6-2, 6-1 first-round victim of
French 12th seed Richard Gasquet.
Kyrgios, building a reputation as the bad boy of the game, was unremarkable
in his loss, which lasted for only 56 minutes.
Gasquet now owns a 4-1 lead in their series and set up a second-round clash
with Australian qualifier Thanasi Kokkinakis.