World number 12 Belinda Bencic will have a tough one on her hands when she takes on Belgian world number 16 Elise Mertens in the third round of the 2021 Australian Open on Friday, February 12, with the match likely to begin at around 11 am local time (12 noon BST or 7 pm Eastern Time previous day). Get the live streaming options of this Elise Mertens v Belinda Bencic match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Elise Mertens v Belinda Bencic Head to Head
There have been no previous matches between Mertens and Bencic before this.
Mertens Survives First Set Thriller
It was a roller-coaster ride, a thrill-a-minute flick with multiple twists as Mertens needed to navigate through a tricky first set against Lin Zhu of China.
The Belgian, in-form and gunning to make another deep run in a tournament, was up an early break in the opening set, only to lose serve the next game. She broke Zhu in the ninth and 11th games, to have a chance to serve for the set only to get broken the very next game.
The tie-breaker was keenly fought and the only instance where more than one point distinguished the two players was when Zhu led 5-3. She was soon 6-5 up with a set-point which Mertens saved and then again had another set-point saved at 7-6 as well.
Mertens got herself a couple of points at that stage to get her own set-point which was staved off but off the next one, she completed the set victory.
Mentally chuffed, Merten then proceeded to break Zhu twice in a row to grab a 5-0 lead and then completed a 7-6, 6-1 win.
This win makes it a run of six of them for Mertens this season, having won the title at the Gipplsland Trophy and then beaten Leylah Fernandez in the first round here. In fact, Mertens is 10-1 on win-loss over the last 11 matches she has played, and will be confident notching up another victory.
Bencic Pulls off Hard-Fought Win
After sharing the first two sets with Svetlana Kuznetsova, Bencic was involved in a third set that fluctuated like a pendulum, with both players having a chance to clinch it.
Bencic went 2-0 up, then lost two serves in a row to trail 2-3 only to break Kuznetsova to level the match. A game later, Bencic got what might have been a crucial break as she looked to serve for the set at 5-3 but her Russian opponent saved three match-points before breaking back.
However serving to stay in the match, Kuznetsova faced two break-points and Bencic converted the second one to claim an error-strewn match. Both players committed over 50 unforced errors in the encounter, hitting only 24 winners apiece with five breaks of serve each.
The Swiss world number 12’s ability to keep her calm at the right moment became the distinguishing factor but she would be worried about the drop in her intensity in the second set – having also lost the second in her opening round match against Lauren Davis.
Mertens v Bencic Prediction and Tip
Mertens might be four spots behind Bencic on the rankings but holds the edge here and starts off a favourite in this one.
Tip: Mertens to win: 8/11 (bet365)