In what was the first big upset of the tournament, in-form 21-year-old Anna Blinkova secured the biggest win of her young career as she defeated Belinda Bencic 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in one hour and 53 minutes to knock out the number one seed in the first round of the Shenzhen Open.
At 5-1 up after six games, Swiss ace Bencic looked on course for a routine victory, but 2015 Junior Wimbledon runner-up Blinkova began to find her serving form and started putting her world No. 8 opponent under more pressure.
The turning point of the match came in the sixth game of the second set that lasted a total of 16 points – Blinkova saved game point three times before breaking her frustrated opponent on the second time of asking to take a 4-2 lead.
In the third set, the young Russian did not face a single break point and converted both the chances she created to complete her first career victory over a Top Ten player.
“I’m feeling really good, I’m so happy I don’t know what to say. I did my job. I didn’t feel great in the beginning of the match. But it’s very important that I managed to increase the level of my game slowly step by step. I said to myself I need to put more balls in the court, because I was making too many mistakes. So I tried to close the wrist a bit more and stay aggressive on the shot and try to play the big moments with aggression,” said the Russian, who is at a career high ranking of No. 58.