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Bencic, 15, Moves On To Quarterfinals At Childhelp Desert Classic
(February 7, 2013)Rancho Mirage, Calif. – Fifteen-year-old Belinda Bencic can recall as a child hearing about fellow Switzerland player Roger Federer winning multiple singles titles in the Southern California desert city of Indian Wells in 2003, 2004, 2005 and again in 2012.
Currently ranked No. 554 in the world and playing for the first time here, the qualifier Bencic has advanced to the quarterfinals of the Childhelp Desert Classic at the Rancho Palmas Resort just a few miles down the road from where Federer has dominated at the BNP Paribas Open.
Bencic beat No. 2-seeded American Madison Brengle, 6-4, 6-2 on Thursday on Day 3 of the tournament, a women’s $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event.
It was the first time the two had played. “I knew it was going to be tough,” said Bencic, who is traveling with her father. “She had me running a lot and so I just had to be patient.
“I have heard many times about Indian Wells as a child. I just love it here. I can’t believe how beautiful and warm it is here.”
Bencic has never advanced this far in a $25,000 event but won two titles at the ITF $10,000 level in Egypt last September.
In contrast to Bencic, another young teenage qualifier Mayo Hibi is very familiar with the Rancho Las Palmas site. She fell to No. 8-seeded Tara Moore of Great Britain, 6-3, 6-1, in her second-round match.
“I’ve played here so many times I can’t even count them,” said Hibi, who resides in Irvine but represents Japan. “From Regional events to the Easter Bowl, I always love playing here.”
Hibi, just 16, is currently a junior in school and attends K-12 Academy. She advanced all the way to the semifinals before losing to eventual champion Taylor Townsend at the Easter Bowl a year ago.
Childhelp Merv Griffin Village provides a home for 80-100 children that have been severely abused or abandoned by their parents. Several of the participants in the event will be visiting the facility and conducting a tennis clinic for the children.
For information on contributions to Childhelp email to EKuhle@aol.com.