TC Plus Match of the Day: Belinda Bencic vs. Sofia Kenin, Mallorca

TC Plus Match of the Day: Belinda Bencic vs. Sofia Kenin, Mallorca

Two Wimbledon dark horses and ascendent youngters collide.

Ashleigh Barty is going for No. 1 in Birmingham, Roger Federer is going for No. 102 in Halle, and Feliciano Lopez is playing something like his 200th match this week at Queen's Club. The finals those players are participating in may be more significant in tennis' bigger picture, but for the short term, I'm most interested to see what happens in Mallorca, when Belinda Bencic faces Sofia Kenin.

Bencic has proven that you can experience a renaissance at 22. She burst onto the scene in 2015, suffered a major injury, but has since recovered physically and rediscovered her confidence to find herself at No. 13 in the rankings. With a few more notable results, she could threaten her career-high mark of No. 7, earned in 2016. It's possible, as grass might be her best surface: she's reached the fourth round of Wimbledon twice, including last year, when her turnaround began. In Mallorca, she cooled down Amanda Anisimova in the quarterfinals, then topped that with a three-set comeback win over defending Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber. (The German ousted the Swiss during last year's title run.)

Bencic's consistency, and occasional explosiveness, will be tested by a player who is also in the midst of a rapid rise, Kenin. The American's explosiveness and self-assurance have been knowns for a while; what we didn't know is if she could put it all together at the highest level. She answered that with her 6-2, 7-5 win over Serena Williams at Roland Garros, but in truth, Kenin has been a tough opponent for a while now. That may make her sound like a veteran, but she's only 20.

You can't ask for much more from a Grand Slam tune-up tournament than a final between title contenders or darkhorses at the forthcoming major. Bencic and Kenin fall into the latter category, for now at least, but with a title at stake, they'll probably treat Sunday's showndown as if it was a Wimbledon final. Maybe someday, but in the meantime, enjoy this clash of ascendant youngsters.