Tennis

Published: Wednesday September 3, 2014 MYT 5:02:45 AM
Updated: Wednesday September 3, 2014 MYT 5:03:33 AM

Swiss teen Bencic sees U.S. Open as building block

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Belinda Bencic's fairytale U.S. Open debut came to an emphatic halt at the hands of China's Peng Shuai on Tuesday but the Swiss teen took plenty of comfort from her maiden trip to a grand slam quarter-finals.

For the big-hitting 17-year-old who graduated to the women's tour after winning the junior titles at last year's French Open and Wimbledon, her experience at the year's final grand slam in Flushing Meadows will serve as a building block.

"For sure it's been a great tournament for me," said Bencic, who came to the U.S. Open ranked 58 and will leave inside the top 35.

"I think today I really didn't play my best, but I can take definitely so much positive out of this tournament. I will work very hard so that I can be in a lot more quarter-finals."

Carving up the court with great accuracy, Peng coaxed 19 unforced errors from Bencic, and when she had the Swiss pinned at the baseline the world number one doubles player often drew her to the net to set up a variety of passing shots.

"I had like little outs and a lot of unforced errors," Bencic said about a number of her big hits that strayed just beyond the lines.

"I think she has a dangerous game with both hands and the ball is really coming different from her racket. I had a little bit of trouble with this today. Also angles are great. She's a great doubles player, as well. It's good for her."

Bencic announced her arrival as a major contender with an impressive march to the last eight that included upset wins over 31st seed Kurumi Nara of Japan, sixth seed Angelique Kerber of Germany and ninth-seeded Serb Jelena Jankovic, a former world number one.

Bencic was the youngest player to reach the U.S. Open quarters since compatriot Martina Hingis in 1997. Hingis, is a friend and practice partner, whose mother Melanie Molitor coaches the up-and-coming Swiss player.

"It's incredible," said Bencic, the daughter of a Czech ice hockey player who emigrated to Switzerland. "It's my fourth grand slam. I improved my results always.

"I played second round of Australia and third round of Wimbledon and now quarter-finals here, so it's always gone up. I think it's really positive that I take the small steps, but it goes up always," added Bencic, who next plans to play Tokyo, Beijing, and Tianjin.

"I mean, it's my fourth grand slam. Next year maybe seeded in Australia, it's unbelievable. Next year I don't have to play any more (qualifiers). I'm so happy."

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

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