US Open 2019: Belinda Bencic storms to straight-sets victory over Mandy Minella

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World number eight Belinda Bencic, 22, comfortably progressed into the second round with a routine 6-2, 6-3 straight-sets victory over Mandy Minella on Court Five in a match which lasted little over an hour on Tuesday afternoon.

Bencic, who has struggled with persistent injuries and inconsistency in recent years, eased into the next round after a commanding display.

Her power and excellently disguised shot selection proved too much for Minella to contend with, despite her best efforts.

Recording five aces with 74% of first serve points won, Belinda had 23 winners in 67 minutes on-court – more than double that of Minella (9), despite their unforced error count being almost identical.

That’s one area of Bencic’s game that she must monitor if she’s to assert herself in an unpredictable field of players at this year’s US Open.

Her lateral movement has been criticised at times and she’ll know there are tougher tests to come against better opposition who will exploit those weaknesses.

Making 20 unforced errors isn’t alarming given her high-risk, high-reward style but it will nonetheless need to be reduced as the tournament wears on.

She won 75% of points at the net (12/16) and four of seven break points too. The Luxembourg international struggled when facing Bencic’s serve but would have been disappointed not to push her harder in truth.

It seemed effortless at times and Belinda knew precisely when to shift gears at decisive moments in the match.

Should she complete a deep run in this tournament, the Swiss international could progress to world number three provided other results go her way for some of the top seeds elsewhere over this fortnight.

While Petra Kvitova, Elina Svitolina, Serena Williams and last year’s winner Naomi Osaka all earned convincing first-round victories, there were surprise defeats for Angelique Kerber and Garbiñe Muguruza.

What’s next?

Bencic faces an intriguing second-round clash against Frenchwoman Alize Cornet, who also came through in straight sets (6-2, 6-3) against American Jessica Pegula during the early session on Tuesday.

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