Belinda Bencic plays just like Martina Hingis, China's star says
Li Na heaps praise on 16-year-old, who has a bright future ahead of her
Li Na says she sees a lot of Martina Hingis in exciting "new Swiss Miss" Belinda Bencic, and tips her for a big future.
Li was full of praise for a player who won the Wimbledon and French Open junior titles last year and was named the ITF junior world champion.
"She played exactly like Martina Hingis, I feel," said Li.
This comes as no surprise with Bencic joining the tennis school of Hingis' mother Melanie Molitor - who still occasionally coaches the teen - at age four.
Bencic, 16, has also been getting tips from Hingis herself, with the original "Swiss Miss" back in Melbourne this year as the coach of Sabine Lisicki.
Ahead of the tournament, Hingis played Bencic at an exhibition in Hobart dubbed "Master versus the Apprentice".
Hingis, who was 16 when she won her first grand slam at the Australian Open in 1997, prevailed in three sets.
"She won the juniors, so she has experience, she's used to playing on the big courts," said Li. "If she plays more tournaments on the tour, for sure she will be very good.
"I didn't like the way she was hitting the ball today because she was using a lot of my power to move me and running a lot."
Bencic, who said she hears the Hingis comparisons "a lot", promised to learn from the Melbourne experience.
"It's great that I had this experience at 16, so maybe later or the next match I can show what I learned from this experience so I will not be so nervous and I will not miss chances," she said.
"I was watching her [Li] on TV, and now to play against her it's an awesome feeling."
Bencic is among a crop of new young players emerging on the women's circuit who appear to have the game to make it on the gruelling WTA tour.