In the first year of Arthur Ashe Stadium, 1997, Venus Williams lost the U.S. Open final to the "Swiss Miss," 16-year-old Martina Hingis. Six months earlier, Belinda Bencic was born in Flawil, Switzerland.
On Friday Williams went up against Bencic, the "Swiss Can't Miss," on Ashe. Bencic is a rising star mentored by Hingis and her mother, Melanie Molitor. The 18-year-old won her first big tournament in August at Toronto and beat Serena Williams on the way to the title. She came into the Open as the No. 12 seed.
But not so fast.
The 35-year-old Williams still has enough game to teach a kid a lesson or two. Hingis was in Bencic's player box on Friday, but she couldn't do anything to help her charge against Williams. Williams had more power, more serve, more legs in the 6-3, 6-4 win that sends her one match closer to playing Serena in the quarterfinals.
Williams, the 23rd seed, will next meet Anett Kontaveit, an Estonian qualifier who defeated American Madison Brengle on Friday. Kontaveit, 19, is No. 152 in the world rankings.
The match was a definite confidence boost for Williams, who hadn't made it to the fourth round at the Open since 2010. She knew what she was up against.
"She's been playing well and her ranking shows and also the results show," said Williams, whose first two matches went to three sets. "Today I just wanted to be aggressive, which is my style . . . That's the best part, to win matches in straight sets. the errors were just too high."
Bencic played her first WTA match against Williams and has lost all four they have played.
"I think against Venus, I don't know if she does that against [me], like she serves very good and I don't have so much time with her to read her serves . . . and start the rallies," Bencic said. "I think with Serena in Toronto I did better. I could start the rallies and actually try to do something and have a chance to do it. Today, I just couldn't do it."
Eugenie Bouchard is finally getting something done at this Open after a disappointing season. The 21-year-old Canadian, who jumped up the tennis ranking last year with a series of high finishes in the majors, had fallen to No. 25 this season. But she has made strides in Flushing Meadows, and on Friday she ground out a 7-6 (9), 4-6, 6-3 victory over Dominika Cibulkova before a packed and enthusiastic Armstrong Stadium crowd.
"I can't feel my body," she told the crowd after the two-hour, 48-minute match.
Bouchard next will play Roberta Vinci, who defeated Mariana Duque-Marino, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2.