Belinda Bencic has won her opening-round match in Linz, her first WTA tournament appearance in six months.
The 20-year-old Swiss star, a former world No.7, saved a match point to beat Kirsten Flipkens 4-6 6-2 7-6(7).
Match points came and went for both players in the final-set tiebreak before Bencic coverted her second to advance.
— WTA Linz (@WTALinz) October 9, 2017
“I think every victory means a lot now,” she said. “Obviously I missed these emotions so much, I realised that (while I was out injured).
“This is my third tournament back, so the important thing is not that I won, but that I can finally play. And I really appreciate that, I think I appreciate it more now.”
Bencic required surgery on her left wrist in early May and after three months off resumed training in early August.
This is the third tournament of her comeback; prior to Linz she contested two ITF events, winning the $100,000 title in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Thank you to all the people that still believed in me when others didn't anymore ?? pic.twitter.com/rNMiAZlbdC
— Belinda Bencic (@BelindaBencic) September 23, 2017
Before that, she was last sighted on court during Switzerland’s Fed Cup semifinal tie against Belarus in late April.
A wildcard in Linz, Bencic – currently ranked No.228 – next faces Spaniard Lara Arruabarrena for a place in the quarterfinals.
Other winners on Monday at the Austrian indoor hardcourt event were Johanna Larsson and Natalia Vikhlyantseva.
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