Belinda Bencic blasted past Daria Kasatkina to win her 7th career singles title at the Adelaide International 2 on Saturday, the Swiss dismissing the Russian in convincing fashion, 6-0 6-2, in just 68 minutes.
It's my best result before the Australian Open and I've had the most matches going into it. It helps me to be confident and to know and believe in myself. This is great, and I won this tournament, but in Melbourne it starts again. Belinda Bencic
Technically this was an upset, since Bencic was seeded 9th and Kastakina 3rd, but the Swiss has sturdy credentials and has an Olympic gold medal tucked under her belt.
This win will see her return to the Top 10 on Monday at No 10, while the Russian will remain at No 8, and it sees the two now tied at 3-3 in their head-to-head record.
The Adelaide title is the first that Bencic has captured in Australia, and she has set a new career-best showing in the city, having previously finished as the runner-up to Iga Swiatek here in 2021.
“I’m happy I could show my work here on the court,” Bencic said in her post-match press conference. “I thought I played some great matches from the start of the tournament, and also against different kind of opponents, so I really could test myself out there in every way, and just go confidently into the Australian Open.”
Bencic beat Spanish wild-card Garbiñe Muguruza, 6-3 6-4, to begin her campaign, and then followed up with wins over Russian qualifier Anna Kalinskaya, 6-3 6-3, and Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia, the No 4 seed, 6-2 3-6 6-4, before receiving a walkover from Veronika Kudermetova, the No 6 seed from Russia.
Kasatkina, too, was impressive in her progress through the draw, scoring wins over Czech Barbora Krejcikova, 6-2 7-5, and Czech Petra Kvitova, the No 12 seed, 6-3 7-6(3), before she also got a walkover from Spaniard Paula Badosa, the No 9 seed.
It was a command performance by Bencic, who raced through the final without facing a break point and won 88% of her first-service points on her way to victory.
She broke Kasatkina to love in the opening game, laying down a marker, and charged on from there, unleashing her powerful forehand to force an error from the Russian to break again for 3-0.
The Swiss had no trouble closing out the first set, ending it with a backhand winner down the line.
Then she made it 8 games in a row at the start the second, before finally Kasatkina got herself onto the board at 2-1.
Fending off a championship point at 5-1, Kasatkina eventually picked up her 2nd game and forced Bencic to serve for the title, which the reigning Olympic champion did with some aplomb, converting her 2nd championship point with an error-forcing backhand.
“It’s my best result before the Australian Open and I’ve had the most matches going into it,” the 25-year old said. “It helps me to be confident and to know and believe in myself.
“This is great, and I won this tournament, but in Melbourne it starts again.”
Both now head to Melbourne for the Australian Open, where Bencic is the No 12 seed, and meets Viktoriya Tomova from Bulgaria in the 1st-round, while Kasatkina, the 8th seed, opens against compatriot Varvara Gracheva.
The Adelaide International 2 doubles final took place on Friday, when Brazil’s Luisa Stefani & Taylor Townsend from the USA defeated Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova & Elena Rybakina from Kazakstan, 7-5 7-6(3), in a tough 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Townsend has made a clean sweep of the Adelaide doubles titles this year, also winning the Adelaide International 1 title last week alongside fellow-American Asia Muhammad, and taking her tally to 3 career WTA doubles titles.
Stefani has now won 6 WTA doubles titles, half of which have come since she returned to the tour in September 2022 following a year-long absence due to an ACL injury.
This also proved a strong return week for Pavlyuchenkova, who had not played an event since May due to her own knee injury.
Pavlyuchenkova & Rybakina, who debuted as a team during last year’s French Open, won each of their first 3 matches in Adelaide in straight sets before suffering a straight-set defeat in the final.
Stefani & Townsend got off to a perfect start to the match, breaking in the very first game of the match.
In the second, Pavlyuchenkova & Rybakina held two break points to get the break back, but failed to convert as Stefani & Townsend took a 2-0 lead.
They missed out on a break point to go up by a double break and Pavlyuchenkova & Rybakina managed to cut the deficit to 2-1 and, 2 games later, Stefani & Townsend again held a chance to go up by a double break, only to be thwarted once more.
Pavlyuchenkova & Rybakina got the break-back in the next game to level the first set at 3 games apiece, but then dropped serve again as Stefani & Townsend opened up a 4-3 lead.
Serving for the first set, Stefani & Townsend found themselves again tied at 5-5 but they rallied to break once more, in the 11th game, ahead of claiming it on their 2nd set point to win the very tight opener.
Stefani & Townsend broke Pavlyuchenkova & Rybakina in the 3rd game of the second to take a 2-1 lead and although they were broken back, they kept pressing and went ahead 4-3.
They missed out on 2 match points as Pavlyuchenkova & Rybakina managed to send the second set into a tie-break, where Stefani & Townsend took a 4-0 lead and there was no coming back for the opponents from there.
Stefani & Townsend missed out on their first 4 championship points but claimed their 5th to lift the Adelaide 2 trophy after an hour and 45 minutes.