Instagram regular, with 1.9 million followers, Canada’s 24-year-old Eugenie Bouchard is seeking to defy critics. There are those who suggest that her jet-set lifestyle has cause a slump in her tennis career. She has gone back to the grassroots and has now won two matches at a 125K WTA Newport “Challenger” event. It isn’t all cocktails, swimsuits, and hob-knobbing for the 24-year-old media starlet. She can get stuck in when she needs to.
Kayla Day makes Bouchard work hard for first round Challenger victory
A week after picking up just four games in defeat to Serena Williams in last week in the Australian Open, the world #79 is grinding it out in the WTA Newport Challenger (in California). Grinding is just the right word to describe her first round edging out of American Kayla Day: 2-6, 6-3, 6-2. Despite Day being ranked 232 places below Bouchard, Day came out of the blocks soaring–she inflected the third consecutive 6-2 set drubbing for Bouchard. What is more, Day was worth every bit of that margin, in the first set. At that point, Bouchard must have felt like she was playing Serena, again.
To her credit, Bouchard dug deep, returned a little to back-to-basics, like getting the ball back in play. This way she made Day work harder and drew out the errors. The application of Bouchard that has been questioned before was unquestionable.
Bouchard back to better form in 2nd round against Jil Teichmann
It was a more aggressive and round display from Bouchard, most recently, in the second round. There appears to be a determination to re-establish as a serious, top 10 player. A 6-2, 6-2 victory over the industrious Teichmann bears out Bouchard’s willingness to dig deep. Bouchard stopped the 6-2 against first set rot by dominating the first set and achieving that score in her favour. It is a long road but she is making strides towards getting back to the consistency she displayed to reach number 5 in the world, in 2014.
Fellow Canadian Bianca Andreescu awaits Bouchard in quarterfinals
Ontario’s 18-year-old sensation Bianca Andreescu is a tough match-up for Bouchard. She has made an impressively mature start to the season. She pushed the evergreen Julia Gorges all the way in a tight three set loss in the final at Auckland, beating Venus Williams along the way. It will be a good marker for where Bouchard is it. She needs to find a way through matches like this if she is to achieve the potential everyone thought she had in 2014.
Bouchard playing well is just what tennis needs. She rewarded a super-fan who spent hours creating a banner to wave at Auckland with tickets to see her in the doubles final. She won the Auckland doubles title with Sofia Kenin, and Bouchard would love to add a singles title to this. The Newport Challenger would be a great start.
Prediction for Bouchard v Andreescu: Having made a spectacular failure of predicting Suarez-Navarro to beat Bouchard in Luxembourg last season, I have to say Bouchard in three for this one.