In a battle of former junior Grand Slam titlists, Coco Vandeweghe (2008 Us Open) eked out a 6-4 3-6 7-5 victory over Eugenie Bouchard (2012 Wimbledon) in a match that stretched over two hours and 21 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.
Imposing serve makes the difference under the roof
The match was played indoor as the tournament organization considered there was a substantial chance of rain at 11 AM local time.
The world No. 35 fired 11 aces and won an extraordinary 85% of the points in which she put her first serve in play.
In the early going, the player on serve comfortably dominated. They did not reach deuce until the seventh game. An ill-timed Bouchard double fault aided the New York City native to cash in on her first break point opportunity.
Apart from that outlier, both ladies kept struggling on the returning end of the court. They exchanged three straight holds at love, hence Vandeweghe bagged the first set.
The start of the second clearly belonged to the 2014 semifinalist. Errors kept piling up for the American, who conceded a break with a double fault. Does that sound familiar? She was unable to dig herself out of that hole.
Not only did Bouchard secure the second set, but she also raced to a 2-0 lead in the decider thanks to a leadoff break. At this point, Genie was two-for-two in break point chances. Keep this in mind.
The niece of two-time NBA All Star Ernest Maurice ‘Kiki’ Vandeweghe ended her slump with another hold at love, the eighth of the tilt.
Nothing outrageous happened for several games, with Bouchard getting closer to a round of 16 spot. It was the calm before the storm.
At 4-3 up, the 22-year-old Canadian wasted two game point opportunities, including one with a dreadful double fault.
Even after re-watching it, I have no clue about what happened in the ninth game. I will proceed to lay out the facts and let each reader draw her or his own conclusion:
-The game lasted over 12 minutes.
-They reached deuce an astonishing eight times.
-Bouchard squandered four break points. From 2/2 to 2/6 overall.
-There were five unforced errors into the net. That, my friends, is an indicator of lackluster tennis.
Eventually Vandeweghe, Martina Hingis’ doubles partner, pushed forward and held serve.
After two dull games, Bouchard was serving to remain in contention at 5-6. A 82 mph ace put her up 30-15, right before the implosion. A pair of careless errors gave Vandeweghe a chance to clinch. She sealed the deal with a gigantic backhand down the line winner.
The American punched her ticket to the fourth round at Melbourne Park, her best non-Wimbledon Slam showing.
Next up: top seed and defending champion Angelique Kerber, who handily beat Kristyna Pliskova in straight sets.