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Belinda Bencic continues her junior girls' dominance

Belinda Bencic with a backhand shot.
by William Denny
Thursday 4 July 2013

It was business as usual for three of the top five seeds in the quarter-finals of the girl’s draw although there was to be at least one surprise as The Championships continued its unpredictable nature this year.

Top seed Switzerland's Belinda Bencic cruised into the semi-finals with a convincing 6-2, 6-3 victory over the unseeded American Jamie Loeb. The 2013 junior French Open champion won 78 per cent of points off her first serve whilst striking 19 winners in her quarter-final match that lasted one hour and three minutes.

The 16-year-old believes that her recent triumph at Roland Garros has given her an edge heading into the last four of The Championships. “I played already in a semi-final of a Grand Slam tournament and I win it and I think there is a lot of experience because I already know the situation.”

Despite Bencic serving for the match at 5-2 in the second set, the 18-year-old American showed great character by breaking back ensuring the No.1 seed would have to wait a little longer for victory.

But just as she had on four previous occasions, the top seed broke once more.

Bencic – a finalist in the girls’ doubles last year – was receiving almost from the service line as she fired a forehand winner down the line to seal her place in the semi-finals with No.15 seed Louisa Chirico, although she claims she will be doing nothing differently as she aims for back-to-back Grand Slam finals. “I will just play my game and be myself. It doesn’t matter who is on the other side of the court. I played Chirico in French Open semi-finals. It’s not opponent I don’t know and I think, I hope I can go through.”

No.2 seed Ana Konjuh needed just 53 minutes to book her place in the semi-finals with a comprehensive 6-2, 6-3 victory over No.12 seed Anhelina Kalinina.

The 15-year-old from Croatia has been in imperious form this season, reaching the semi-finals at Roland Garros and winning the Australian Open. That form continued here as she conceded no break points and hit 18 winners on the way to her third consecutive Grand Slam semi-final. Konjuh – who has surpassed her previous best at The Championships by reaching the last-four – will now face No.5 seed Taylor Townsend to see who will make their first Wimbledon final.

The only shock of the day came from Court 14 as the No.15 seed Louisa Chirico overcame No.6 seed Elise Mertens in three sets 6-3, 3-6, 6-2. A nervous opening from both players ensured a break of serve apiece although it was Chirico – a recent semi-finalist at Roland Garros – who took the opening set. After a good comeback from the No.6 seed, the match was sent into a deciding set although it was the 17-year-old American who eventually claimed victory with 31 winners against her Belgian counterpart.

No.5 seed Taylor Townsend became the second American to book a place in the semi-finals with a 6-2, 7-6(7) victory over No.4 seed Barbora Krejcikova. Krejcikova’s relative inexperience at this stage in a Grand Slam was evident in the opening set as she struck 11 unforced errors to Townsend’s four. Yet, the second set would go more with the form guide as each player held serve forcing a tie-break. The 17-year-old Czech broke first following a tame backhand slice by Townsend although a poor forehand drop shot put the American back on level terms. An unreturned serve from Townsend was enough to send her through to her second Grand-Slam semi-final.

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    • Belinda Bencic with a backhand shot.
    • Anett Kontaveit stretching with a running forehand return.
    • A running backhand return by No.1 seed Belinda Bencic.
    • Anett Kontaveit with a backhand shot.
    • No.8 seeds Anhelina Kalinina and Iryna Shymanovich on No.15 Court.
    • No.1 seed Belinda Bencic with a backhand shot.
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