Magdalena Rybarikova had her best game on court at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden Monday afternoon. Strong service and offensive attacks broke apart eighth ranked Belinda Bencic to win 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 on Stadium Two at the BNP Paribas Open.
The two last met at Wimbledon in 2014 where the once low ranked pair plays a three setter to get out of the first round. Bencic was the winner of their bout and has been on the rise ever since. Her current rank of eighth has the Swiss teen on course for further success in the desert. She got through a tough match against Lauren Davis Saturday to get this far. With so much going her way, it was unlikely that she’d fall at Indian Wells.
It was a level pegging start in the first set for both players as Rybarikova had an answer on service keeping even with the teen. She gained a short lead in the fifth before finding herself in another brief tie with Bencic. By the late stages she was climbing closer to the set but had the Swiss teen coming back into view challenging her for control. In the end she couldn’t put the brakes on Rybarikova who stayed focused to take the set in 44 minutes. The Slovakian had 15 winners against Bencic where she averaged 68 percent on her first serve despite having 11 unforced errors and three double faults.
The second was a big turnaround for Bencic as she opened scoring in the first game with a beautiful love service. She climbed out to a three game winning streak before her opponent couldn’t answer. She cut Bencic’s lead in half before watching her stepping closer to the set. The teen got it done at the critical moment where leveling things in the match was most important. It was done in 37 minutes with her improvements on service as well as her winning points on four of five occasions from the net.
In the deciding set, both Bencic and Rybarikova split the first pair of games before the Slovakian regained control of the set. She took another two away from Bencic who was getting frustrated with her game letting her father and coach know during the break after five. Her serve in the sixth worked well for Rybarikova who jumped out to a double break point before two mistakes left Bencic with an opportunity for victory.
A battle on deuce in the sixth had Bencic looking for the win but each mistake felt so costly. After four breaks on the draw, she got it done and broke Rybarikova in the seventh to get within a game of leveling things in the set. The Slovakian took another step in the right direction gaining another victory that her on the verge of upsetting the Swiss. She got herself into a deuce draw fighting for control with Bencic where after two breaks she won the biggest game of her tournament closing out a two hour and seven minute match.
The Slovakian’s success at eliminating Bencic moved her into uncharted territory in one of the biggest tournaments that nearly feel like a major. She’ll face the winner between Roberta Vinci and Elina Svitolina in the round of 16 Wednesday.