Last year, up and coming tennis ingenue Madison Keys broke through for her first WTA singles title at the Aegon International. So maybe there is some symmetry to the fact this this year Belinda Bencic knocked off Madison on the way to her own maiden WTA singles title. The 18-year Swiss Bencic, a former world junior #1, has been on the tennis radar as a possible future champion. Back in October she reached her first first final in Tianjin. Two weeks ago she reached another in the Netherlands. Both times she finished runner-up. Maybe the future starts now as she defeated veteran Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4 4-6 6-0 in a final full of streaks by both players to break through. After winning the first set but then falling behind 0-3 in the second, it was very impressive how…after a visit from her coach (and dad) Ivan…Belinda pulled it back together. Although 0-3 only represented one break of serve, it felt watching the match as if this might be where Aga finally raised her game and left Bencic behind. Instead, it was Belinda who, with Swiss tennis legend Martina Hingis in her box looking on, went to to another level. Aga held on for the second set, but Belinda left her in the dust in the closing set. I’m rarely surprised when any player beats another player overall, but the manner in which Belinda served up a bagel in the final set against a player of Aga’s ability and experience was definitely eye-opening.
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BELINDA BENCIC (won 6-4 4-6 6-0 vs 9 Agnieszka Radwanska)