Bencic is moving out of her comfort zone with the hiring of Tursunov

GUADALAGARA, MEXICO – The era of Belinda Benchik and Dmitriy Tursunov began with a choppy, sometimes ugly, victory at the Akron Open in Guadalajara, but that’s exactly what the Swiss need to unlock the next level in their game.

Forced into the third set by Leylah Fernadez after letting five match points go on a stormy night in Guadalajara, Bencic quickly accepted that on this night, they would have to win ugly. She regained her aggression and focused on making balls, forcing Fernandes to play through the pools. Her gamble paid off, as the Canadian struggled with her persistence and Bencic won 7-5, 6-7 (10), 6-3.

Match Report: Bencic Holds Fernandez Into WTA Finals

“I think this is the part where I can improve the most, and change this [perfectionist] mindset,” Bencic told WTA Insider. I try, but sometimes perfection is still inside of me. I have to change the system in my head. I have to do what I have to do, even if it’s not pretty.

“It’s a process. I haven’t gotten there yet, but it’s definitely something I’m working on.”

From now on, Bencic will work on it with Tursunov, the expert coach who led Arina Sabalenka and Annette Kontaveit to their professional heights. After breaking up with her coach Sebastian Sachs after the US Open, Bencic found herself in the market for a new coach. When Tursunov finished his work with Emma Raducanu, an excellent opportunity arose for him.

“It’s definitely a challenge for me because it’s different and it’s new and it has to be improved,” Bencic said. “So I’m outside my comfort zone and that’s exactly what I want.”

“I strongly believe that he is a very good coach and he can improve my performance, my game level and the mental aspect. I am very happy that he decided to work with me. I want to make him great and I want to improve exactly that part we were just talking.”

Guadalajara is their first tournament together, and it may be ill-timed given that it is the last event of the regular season. If all goes well for Bencic this week, she could still qualify for the WTA Finals for a second time. But Benchik and Tursunov are already eyeing the long term to 2023.

Guadalajara 1000: Bencic beat Fernandez in the opening match of three sets

2022 Guadalajara 1000

“I think it’s always important that a player wants to work with that coach,” Bencic said. “I think it is different when a coach approaches a player. I really wanted to work with him.

“I’ve seen the partnerships he’s made with other players and he’s been very successful. His way of coaching is a way that can help me. I strongly believe that it can be good. Also with conversations and on the field you have to click. I think it’s early for that, but I’m pretty sure of He will do well and I will try to do everything for him.”

At Tursunov, Bencic saw an analytical coach with a proven ability to transcend noise and focus on tennis. Bencic’s talent was evident from her debut on the Hologic WTA Tour, with four singles titles and an Olympic gold in Tokyo. She reached a career high of No. 4, but the 25-year-old is still looking to break through her Grand Slam and improve consistency. She has reached the quarter-finals or better in three majors, all at the US Open, with her best result coming in 2019 when she reached the semi-finals before losing to Bianca Andreescu.

“I think he’s frank and mentally trying to get you to see things differently than you see now,” Bencic said. “He’s honest and very difficult about things, but that’s exactly what I need. I don’t need someone to talk about everything except the point. I can see that this could be the thing I need to get a different perspective.”

Bencic faces Sloane Stephens on Wednesday in the second round.

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