Brisbane R1: (7) Belinda Bencic vs Sara Errani
Belinda Bencic was once of the biggest improvers in season 2015, the Swiss rising star will be keen to take another step forward in 2016, starting in Australia where she really struggled last year. Given her poor results during the Australian summer in 2015, there is a real opportunity for Bencic to break into the top 10 for the first time during the Australian summer given she has basically no points to defend. Bencic will kick-start her Brisbane campaign with a first round encounter against Sara Errani on Monday.
Belinda Bencic’s off-season was different in 2015. Bencic was heavily involved in the IPTL, earning herself the title of MVP as she helped guide the Singapore Slammers to glory in the second edition of the event. Bencic is one to look out for in 2016, in 2015 the 18-year-old showed that the hype around her game was well and truly warranted with victories over Serena Williams, Simona Halep, Caroline Wozniacki, Garbine Muguruza and Ana Ivanovic. Bencic will look to take another step forward in 2016, improved Grand Slam results are they key for her.
We know what to expect from Sara Errani heading into another year, the Italian will fight all day long from the baseline. Errani has generally struggled during the Australian summer in recent years, the quicker conditions certainly don’t suit her game.
Belinda Bencic won the only previous encounter between the pair, a 4-6 6-2 6-1 victory on the clay in Charleston back in 2014. This is a good match-up for Bencic, her controlled aggression matches up well against Errani’s scrambling from the baseline. The Brisbane conditions will give Bencic an event greater advantage, I expect her to win this match quite comfortably.