Even the original Swiss Miss, Martina Hingis, is surprised that Belinda Bencic has made it to the fourth round of the U.S. Open.
The six-time Grand Slam champion, now 33 and a doubles and World Team Tennis player, has been a lifelong mentor to her 17-year-old countrywoman, and Hingis' mother Melanie Molitor has coached her since she was a child. Hingis will be watching intently Sunday night as Bencic makes her first appearance in Arthur Ashe Stadium against veteran Jelena Jankovic in a round of 16 match.
Bencic defeated No. 6 seed Angelique Kerber in the third round, following wins over Yanina Wickmayer in the first and Kurumi Nara in the second.
While Hingis is far from pronouncing Bencic as the "Swiss Can't Miss," she optimistic.
"I have watched all her matches so far in the Open. She surprised myself," Hingis said Saturday. "Honestly, I already practiced with her [last Sunday] and I'm like, 'wow,' she really played good . . . My mom did most of the work the last ten years, so she's finally proving it."
While Hingis says there are obvious comparisons between her game and Bencic's, she says Bencic has the added dimension of power.
"She's also stronger, so she can work with other weapons ," Hingis said. "I was maybe a little better mover, but when she hits a shot it can be a winner. She's hitting a lot more winners than I did."
Hingis was only 16 when she won her third major of 1997 at the U.S. Open. She sees little disadvantage at being young and facing a veteran. "I was like 14 and playing in the fourth round here," she said. "There are options for young players who have the game and can produce great tennis. It's not easy for top players to play a youngster."