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Belinda Bencic has 'wow factor'

Belinda Bencic celebrates at match point against Jelena

Belinda Bencic celebrates at match point against Jelena Jankovic of Serbia during their U.S. Open 2014 women's singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center Aug. 31, 2014 in New York. Credit: Getty Images / Don Emmert

There was a "wow factor" when Belinda Bencic walked onto the Arthur Ashe Stadium court on Sunday night. And there was a "wow factor" when she walked off.

Awed at being in the stadium for the first time, she still gathered herself enough to beat the No. 9 seed, Jelena Jankovic, in the fourth round. At 17, Bencic is the youngest player in the women's draw, and Tuesday she'll make her second appearance at Ashe, against Peng Shuai. That's the real wow factor.

As a protege of Martina Hingis, as a student of Hingis' mother, Melanie Molitor, the Swiss-born Bencic is walking in some championship footsteps and likely will be walking into Ashe Stadium frequently in a career that is just starting.

"It was amazing," Bencic said of that first Ashe match. "At the beginning I was too impressed. I didn't play well. Not nervous, but just overwhelmed from everything. After I got used to it, [the court was] a little bit different."

Hingis was in the friends box for the match and saw in Bencic the blossoming of talent that she has watched grow for 10 years.

"I think there is huge potential for her," Hingis said after Bencic eliminated No. 6 seed Angelique Kerber in the third round. "I definitely think she can be top five. She's on the way to get there. How far, it's up to her."

Bencic has caught the attention of Serena Williams.

"I think she can go all the way," Williams said. "She's an amazingly nice, beautiful person both inside and out. I really like her. I just think it's good for tennis."

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