AEGON International: Swiss teenager Bencic knocks out defending champ Madison Keys

Belinda Bencic
Belinda Bencic

Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic delivered a sublime performance as she knocked out defending champion Madison Keys in straight sets.

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Bencic, 18, was mightily impressive as her variety shots proved too much for Keys who looked nothing like the energetic player that powered to victory at Devonshire Park in 2014.

Bencic won comfortably 6-2, 6-2 in just 52 minutes and will face Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard in round three who defeated Alison Riske earlier in the day.

Keys, who had recently recovered from a bout of flu, said, “It was not quite happening for me today. It is always tough playing your first match of grass. Everyone has to work into it a little bit and it’s different compared to hard courts or clay. Belinda has played a ton of matches on grass and feels really comfortable and you could tell because she played really well today.

“There is never good timing to be sick or hurt but coming into a time where there is such a short window to prepare is definitely a disadvantage but it happens so you just have to deal with it.”

Bencic, the world No.31, is the youngest player in the main draw and is tipped as a future top 10 player.

She has performed well on grass this season and reached the final of the s-Hertogenbosch tournament in Germany.

But Keys, ranked 21 in the world, was expected to have too much fire power for the youngster. The American achieved a semi-final spot of the Australian Open earlier this year but never found her range against Bencic.

The defending champ hit numerous unforced errors while the Bencic game remained rock solid and she took the first set in a flash.

Keys soon had her serve broken once again in the second set as Bencic took a 3-2 lead.

Keys had no response and Bencic grow in confidence. The highlight of match came at 4-2 up when a sublime lob over a bewildered Keys brought up another break point which she duly took for 5-2.

There wasn’t a flicker of nerves as the youngster served out the set and recorded one of the best victories of her young career - on this evidence, there will be many more.

A delighted Bencic said, “I served really well and I’m happy with my performance> I played well today and I hope can play just as well in the next round.”

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