Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic won her first title by beating Agnieszka Radwanska 6–4, 4–6, 6–0 in the Eastbourne final on Saturday, enhancing her burgeoning reputation ahead of Wimbledon.
Watched by compatriot and mentor Martina Hingis, Bencic covered her face in her hands after driving a forehand winner past Radwanska on the first match point to end a third set that lasted just 24 minutes.
“It’s one of the biggest days of my life. It’s a dream come true,” a beaming Bencic said at the trophy presentation, before addressing the impact of Hingis.
“She helped me, not just this week. Her and her mum, they taught me everything.”
Bencic, ranked 31st, won the girls’ singles title at Wimbledon in 2013, and previously lost two WTA finals, including one on grass at ‘
She showed great variety and subtlety with her clean groundstrokes on Saturday, handling the blustery conditions better except for a period in the second set when she became frustrated and called for her coach.
Radwanska, the 2008 champion, failed to build on winning the second set, and was outplayed in the third.
“I tried my best but she was better than me,” said the 2012 Wimbledon
The WTA says Bencic, at 18 years and 109 days, is the youngest player to win a