Bencic making a name for herself at Family Circle Cup
Teenager Belinda Bencic had to play her way into the Family Circle Cup, but the 17-year-old qualifier from Switzerland will be competing in the quarterfinals Friday against No. 3 seed Sara Errani of Italy.
She advanced Thursday with a hard-fought 6-7, 6-4, 6-1 victory over Elina Svitolina, a match played away from the limelight of Stadium Court on the Althea Gibson Court.
"I was really excited to play this match and I really wanted to play in the quarterfinals," said Bencic, who received an obscenity warning during the match. "It was hard for me to get calm because I was quite nervous. I'm just that kind of person, very emotional on the court."
She said that even as a small child she was competitive and that nature still comes through. Bencic said she approached Thursday's match with a nothing-to-lose attitude.
"I had a tough match in the second round of the qualifier where I was down 1-3 in the third set. Then I managed to win and now I just keep going," Bencic said. "I had no idea that I was going this far in the tournament, but I'm just really happy this happened and I want to get a lot of points here."
Andrea Petkovic continued her strong play of late, ousting 2009 Family Circle Cup champion Sabine Lisicki, 6-1, 6-0, in a friendly battle of players from Germany. Petkovic has now won 26 of the last 27 games she has played and leads Lisicki in head-to-head matches, 4-2.
"It's always very difficult and they are always tight matches," Petkovic said of playing against her countryman. "I didn't give her a lot, you know. I didn't miss a lot. I played very deep. I played very solid. But definitely Sabine was not at her best today. She was a little off on her serving and I took advantage of that.
"After a few games you forget about it, but then I was already kind of rolling and in the zone. It was difficult for her to regroup, I think. It was a difficult match, and it wasn't a pretty one, but I'm kind of happy to get through."
Lisicki, who has battled a shoulder injury and had to take a break to have a blister on her right hand treated, said she didn't play well. She said she had no preparation for the clay surfaces.
"I missed the easy balls," Lisicki said. "The timing is still not there, sliding into the right balls, and it's not there yet."
Unseeded Jana Cepelova, the 20-year-old Slovakian who stunned No. 1 seed Serena Williams on Wednesday night, reached the quarterfinals with Thursday's three-set victory over Elena Vesnina. And she has a good chance Friday against No. 12 seed Daniela Hantuchova, also from Slovakia and a Fed Cup teammate.
Cepelova and Hantuchova have never played against other in a WTA match.
Cepelova has never reached a WTA semifinal.
Three of the 16 singles contestants were scheduled for double duty Thursday - Shuai Peng of China who, with Su-Wei Hsieh of Taipei, forms the top-ranked doubles team; Andrea Petkovic of Germany; and Jelena Jankovic all compete in doubles. Players are given a reasonable time to rest between completing their singles match and playing doubles.
The Blue Dogs will provide the music Friday night at Happy Hour, with drink specials from 4-8 p.m. at the Ketel One Racquet Club on the Grand Lawn.
Big media turnout
The Family Circle Cup issued a record 115 media credentials. The New York Times, Sports Illustrated and USA Today are represented.
Big media turnout
Watch on ESPN2
The Family Circle Cup will feature live coverage on ESPN2, from 1-2:30 p.m. Friday and 1-3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Watch on ESPN2
Attendance numbers continued to climb with Wednesday's reported attendance at 14,010, approximately 800 higher than watched the two Tuesday sessions. The total through seven sessions is 45,639, higher by 270 fans at the same time in 2013. To equal the FCC record of 95,767 (set over 14 sessions in 2010), the tournament must average 7,367 fans over 13 sessions.
Gene Sapakoff contributed to this article.