The Insider Wrap is a recap of everything you need to know from the week that was. This week, WTA Insider looks back at the start of the clay season on the Hologic WTA Tour, which kicked off at the Credit One Charleston Open (WTA 500) and Copa Colsanitas presentado por Zurich in Bogota (WTA 250).
Performance of the Week: Belinda Bencic
How did Belinda Bencic solve her clay problem? Simply by not thinking about it. Coming off her resurgent run to the Miami Open semifinals, the quick turnaround from hard court to clay worked in the Swiss' favor. The 25-year-old is back into the Top 15 after capturing her sixth career title, holding strong to defeat Ons Jabeur 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 to win the Credit One Charleston Open.
"For me, this is just really a great way to show myself that I can do it on every surface when I play my game and when I'm just doing the right things," Bencic said.
Bencic's Charleston win caps off a solid three-week run to finish her spring North American swing. With the start of her season season derailed by the lasting effects from Covid, Bencic's confidence in her physicality has clicked into form. In her two Top 10 wins in Charleston, she put that physicality on display with three-set wins against Paula Badosa in the quarterfinals and Jabeur in the final.
Surprise of the Week: Tatjana Maria and Laura Pigossi
For the first time in the history of the tour, two players ranked outside the Top 200 faced off in a final. Both No.237 Tatjana Maria and No.212 Laura Pigossi came through the Bogota draw as qualifiers. Pigossi saved match points both in the first round of qualifying and in her quarterfinal win over Dayana Yastremska.
In the end, Maria came through with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 win her second title and first as a mother of two.
"I love my family. I love my two kids. It's the first WTA title with my two kids watching." 🥲@Maria_Tatjana bringing out all the feels in Bogota 💜— wta (@WTA) April 11, 2022
Watch the top plays from her title run here! 🎥👇
Ons Jabeur: The World No.9 didn't hide her heartbreak after losing the Charleston final, which dropped her to 1-4 in tour-level finals. Jabeur let the tears flow on court as she addressed the crowd and afterward as she spoke to the media.
"I thought I cried it off in the shower, but apparently it's coming [again]," Jabeur said in her post-match press conference. "I'm obviously going to talk to my coach, but not today. Too many emotions today.
"But hopefully, I can get past this. It's a very tough loss. I think one of the toughest in my career. But I'll keep going."
Paula Badosa: The No.2 seed in Charleston, Badosa continues to post solid results. She followed up her Indian Wells semifinal with a Miami quarterfinal, and despite feeling the fatigue, she battled into the quarterfinals in Charleston.
Amanda Anisimova: Another quality appearance from the 20-year-old American, who ousted top seed Aryna Sabalenka en route to her second semifinal of the season in Charleston.
Camila Osorio: The home favorite and defending champion in Bogota, Osorio did well in her first title defense, returning to the semifinals. Still struggling with a leg injury that forced her to retire in Indian Wells and withdraw from Miami, Osorio put everything she had left into her title defense before losing in two tiebreaks to Pigossi.
4: WTA finals made by Ons Jabeur in the past 12 months.
19: Aces struck by Zheng Qinwen in her second-round loss to Ekaterina Alexandrova in Charleston, the most aces struck in a single match this season and the most ever hit in a match in Charleston.
6: Times a player has hit 19 or more aces in a clay-court match since 2008.
1999: The last time a Swiss player lifted the trophy in Charleston before Bencic. Martina Hingis won the title that year.
14: WTA finals made by Bencic. Charleston was Bencic's first clay-court final.
1: Top 10 win on clay for Bencic before 2022 Charleston (d. No.1 Osaka, 2019 Madrid). The Swiss tallied two in Charleston, defeating No.9 Jabeur and No.3 Badosa.
Quote of the Week: Belinda Bencic breaks it down
"I felt like my career, it was maybe complicated. Some would say I wasted some years and just had a lot of injuries, but everyone is different. My career was really good at the start. I had a great junior career, and then I went straight to the pros, and I did well in everything. Then some injuries came and it was not going as smooth as everyone was thinking.
"But for me it was like, 'OK, this is the top of women's tennis.' It's not easy and maybe I had some years where I had to really figure out myself and find myself and get back to what I'm doing the best and appreciate tennis more after the injuries. But I never felt like my career is wasted or something.
"So now I'm really enjoying and doing the best I can. I'm 25 years old. I still feel like I'm pretty young and I still have a lot of time. And, yeah, I feel like with the Olympics, it's kind of complete. I felt like the pressure came off of me because before that I always felt like I have to prove I can win something big, and I'm not just this prodigy that never wins something.
"But after the Olympics, I felt like it's going better for me. I'm improving my game and just taking steps forward and maybe a little bit closer to big titles as well, like Grand Slams and playing quarterfinals, semifinals of Miami. I'm saying to myself, the more chances I give myself, the more I can use."