2015 Aegon International

Wozniacki backs out of Bencic challenge

Belinda Bencic, the talented 18-year-old who reached the last 32 on her Wimbledon debut last year, reached the final at Eastbourne after opponent Caroline Wozniacki retired.

The Swiss star seems to have this effect at Devonshire Park having also seen Canadian Eugenie Bouchard throw in the towel in their quarter-final and withdraw.

Bencic sped into a formidable 3-0 lead against Denmark’s world #5 Wozniacki before the match came to an abrupt end.

Wozniacki, who has wobbled early on in all of her matches, was outclassed by the prodigously talented teenager in glorious sunshine during their brief Centre Court exchanges.

Bencic, who avenged her double bagel defeat in Istanbul last year to the Dane by registering a straight set success this term in Indian Wells earlier this term, got off to a flying start to stun her opponent before the abdominal injury retirement.

And the enthusiastic crowd were disappointed that the two grass court experts were not able to provide the same sort of duel and entertainment that Pole Agnieszka Radwanska and American Sloane Stephens had in their semi-final showdown.

Whilst Wozniacki, the 2009 Eastbourne champion, had experienced a stop-start week of matches her Swiss opponent had been formidable apart from dropping a set to British #3 Johanna Konta.

World #5 Wozniacki was aiming to improve her her 26-11 win-loss record for the season in her third successive semi-final at Eastbourne. But itwasn’t third time lucky as, once more, she failed to reach the final ahead of a shot at Wimbledon.

Having an impressive record at Eastbourne, where the blonde 24-year-old is simply adored by the Centre Court fans, that never transfers to her visits to Wimbledon – she has yet to progress further than the last 16 – means that Wozniacki is always there to be beaten.

And Bencic took full advantage of Wozniacki’s lack of confidence at the start of the contest to reel off three games with ease.

Wozniacki became the third notable victim that the Swiss teenager has dismissed at Eastbourne this year, joining American Madison Bouchard and Canadian Bouchard on the Aegon International scrapheap.

Bencic will face Radwanska, the in-form 2009 Aegon International Eastbourne champion, who has been in red-hot form before overcoming a tricky tie against American ace Sloane Stephens.

No2 seed Wozniacki found herself outplayed by the rising star and Radwanska could well find Bencic too hot to handle.

This year’s Wimbledon tune-up tournament has produced the usual thrills ‘n’ spills, but never has Eastbourne had so many withdrawals that the fans are calling ‘Wimbledonitis’ – here’s hoping that tomorrow’s finalists will trade shots and last to the end to treat the Centre Court crowd to an entire match!

Bencic said, “I’m sorry for Caroline and it is an awkward situation, but she has to get ready for Wimbledon. I’m happy but I wouldn’t choose to win it this way.”

Wozniacki, set to face China’s Zheng Saisai of China in the 1st Round at Wimbledon on Tuesday, “I’ve had a back problem all week and today it stiffened up more. I felt really bad for the crowd, but there is nothing I could do about it.

“I’ll get as much treatment as possible and I will definitely be playing Wimbledon.”

Wozniacki posted on her Twitter account:

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