If there were any doubts that Genie Bouchard is fit, confident and motivated going into 2019, they’d have to be gone now.
In difficult windy conditions on the ASB Classic’s Centre Court, it could have been easy for the Canadian to resign herself to frustration, as has been the case with her game over the past couple years as she’s seen her progress stutter. Yet in the quarter-finals at the Auckland-based WTA International event, the challenge of a top-quality opponent and the blustery weather awakened something in Bouchard, as she battled valiantly despite a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(6) loss to defending champion Julia Goerges.
Genie's body language tells the story about her tennis. She is feeling it again. Let's see if she can keep this level in 2019.
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) January 4, 2019
The first set boiled down to consistency on the 24-year-old’s part, as she stayed patient and utilized the wind to throw the No. 2 seed into uncomfortable positions. Footwork failing her, Goerges sprayed one final forehand return long to hand Bouchard the set.
The two battled closely in the second set, before a string of impressive Goerges backhands seemed to hand the German the momentum. She would break serve in the following game before quickly consolidating to love. Two games later, the set would belong to her.
Julia Goerges digs out of a 0-30 hole with the help of this stunner, then breaks Bouchard and leads 5-2 in the second.
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) January 4, 2019
In the third set, the pair traded breaks early on, with Bouchard showing tactical resolve as she elected to take a more atypical defensive role and force Goerges to take risks in the wind. The match went down to the wire, where in a final-set tiebreak it was the risk-taking of the German that prevailed over Bouchard’s dogged defence, as the No. 2 seed claimed the win on one of the best points of the match.
What a matchpoint from @juliagoerges!
— WTA (@WTA) January 4, 2019
Despite the loss, the Canadian will rise back into the top 80 of the WTA rankings and will carry with her both the momentum of three high-quality matches in Auckland and the confidence that against the world’s best players, she is still a force to be reckoned with.
(Feature photo: WTA)