December 4, 2021

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Bencic 5th top-10 WTA player to skip US Open

Bencic

Belinda Bencic, seen here in Adelaide at the beginning of the season, is the fifth top-10 WTA player to pull out of the US Open. (Stephanie Myles/OpenCourt.ca)

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Belinda Bencic, the Swiss who is No. 8 in the WTA Tour rankings, has announced she will skip this year’s US Open.

Bencic had also entered in the “Cincinnati” event, to be played in the U.S. Open bubble in a week. So she’s out of that as well.

The 23-year-old announced it on social media Saturday. She had reportedly said weeks ago that she was unlikely to play, so it’s really just confirmation.

“Hi to all my Fans. I wanted to update you that I have made the difficult decision to skip the US swing in New York and will return to the tour starting in Rome next month. And I would like to thank the US Open and USTA for all their work and effort they have put together to have both Cincinnati and the US Open take place this month. I am looking forward to returning to New York next year and wish everyone competing there in the coming weeks the best of luck. Beli.”

Bencic’s coronavirus drama

Bencic, who played in the Swiss interclub league over the last few weeks, had already been embroiled in one COVID-19 drama during that competition.

According to various media outlets, Bencic and her team refused to play against countrywoman Leonie Kung, who had taken part in the WTA Tour’s return to play in Palermo, out of coronavirus concerns.

Belinda Bencic, seen here in Adelaide at the beginning of the season, is the fifth top-10 WTA player to pull out of the US Open. (Stephanie Myles/OpenCourt.ca)

Another player – who was not Kung – had tested positive in Palermo. Kung lost in the first round of the qualifying, but had tested negative there.

After that, Bencic withdrew from Prague. She was to be the second top-10 player along with Simona Halep.

About three weeks ago, Bencic said in an interview with Tages-Anzeiger that beyond the safety concerns in New York, she wasn’t at all keen to get on a plane for a long flight.

Bencic has spent the majority of the lockdown time in Slovakia. She played interclub both in Bratislava and in Prague before doing the same in Switzerland.

Half the top 10 gone

Bencic joins Ashleigh Barty, Elina Svitolina, Bianca Andreescu and Kiki Bertens to make it five of the WTA’s top 10 who will not compete at the US Open.

And, best-case scenario, Simona Halep is … on the bubble and also unlikely.

http://opencourt.ca/wordpress/2020/08/07/svitolina-bertens-out-of-us-open-before-theyre-in/

Andreescu is the reigning champion. It’s hard to know why, exactly, the 20-year-old Canadian won’t defend her title. The law of omertá has ruled for nearly a year now, since she injured her knee at the WTA Tour Finals in Singapore.

We’re told she had a setback in training. It wasn’t the knee, but her foot. And her team would prefer she return to the court for the first time in almost a year on the more forgiving clay in Europe.

However, she still has not entered any of the clay-court events – not Rome, or Roland Garros or even Istanbul, a smaller event that takes place during the second week of the U.S.

There is still time before the deadlines, though. And it’s ultimately meaningless, as Andreescu had entered the US Open before withdrawing last week.