NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Belinda Bencic, playing with a new found sense of freedom after winning a gold medal in the singles competition at the Tokyo Olympics, breezed past Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus 6-4 6-4 to reach the second round of the US Open on Tuesday (Aug 31).
Bencic, who reached the US Open semi-finals in 2019 and sat out last year's tournament amid the Covid-19 outbreak, used a solid service game to improve to 3-0 all-time against the left-handed Rus.
Asked in an on-court interview what pleased her most about the win, Bencic, who did not face a break point during the 90-minute match, replied "Definitely my serve.
"She (Rus) is a great player, she makes it really hard for me to play against her, the typical lefty game, and I've played a lot of lefties in the last couple of matches so I was a little bit prepared."
Bencic, who is seeded 11th, broke Rus in the first game of the match en route to taking the opening set and again in the second set to go ahead 3-2 before wrapping up the match by forcing a forehand error.
The 24-year-old Swiss, who will face Italy's Martina Trevisan in the second round, said she had been more relaxed on court since her Olympic triumph.
"I kind of achieved my dream in Tokyo. I'm so kind of happy and I'm sure it was my proudest moment which I will ever achieve," said Bencic.
"I feel like it gives me a lot of calmness and just relaxing and I can really play just very free now and I'm playing for fun.
"I am feeling good on the court right now so I am not putting any pressure on myself."