Belinda Bencic of Switzerland at the Hopman Cup.
Belinda Bencic of Switzerland at the Hopman Cup. TONY MCDONOUGH

Bouchard and Bencic handed wildcards for Sydney

RISING tennis star Belinda Bencic has the chance to make amends for having to pull out of last year's semi-final at the Sydney International due to injury, with the Swiss teen being awarded one of two wildcards for the 2017 event.

Bencic will join 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard at the Apia International Sydney, which starts next week.

Despite her youth, Bencic already has a US Open quarter-finals appearance under her belt and will join a field in Sydney headed by world No.1 Angelique Kerber of Germany.

Bencic this week is partnering Roger Federer for Switzerland in the Hopman Cup in Perth.

The 19-year-old Bencic used the Sydney event last year to find top early-season form but later was struck down by injury and ended the year ranked 43rd.

"It was the perfect start to my year in 2016. I made the semi-finals and this result helped me break into the top 10 a month later,” she said.

Bouchard, who this week suffered a first-round knockout in Brisbane, last competed at the event in 2014, the same year she finished the year as a Wimbledon finalist.

"I'm very grateful for the wildcard, it's such a tough field so I'm looking forward to the challenge,” Bouchard said.

The final spots in the main draw will be determined during qualifying, which begins on Friday.


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