Photo : @TransylvaniaOpn
For the first time in over three years, Eugenie Bouchard is into the second round of a WTA 1000 event.
The Canadian defeated American Kayla Day on Tuesday in her opening match at the Guadalajara Open in straight sets, her first win at the WTA 1000 (or equivalent) level since Dubai in February 2019.
Tuesday’s match was also Bouchard’s first main draw match at a WTA 1000 event since losing to compatriot Bianca Andreescu in the first round of the 2019 National Bank Open.
Andreescu was also victorious on Tuesday in Guadalajara, mounting a comeback to win a battle of former Grand Slam champions with Bouchard’s 2014 Wimbledon conqueror Petra Kvitova in three sets.
To score the win, Bouchard weathered an early storm from Day before turning the match around and claiming a 7-5, 6-3 win.
Bouchard took advantage of her opportunities in the match, winning 65 per cent of her opponent’s second serve points and converted four of her seven break point chances. She saved two of the four break points she faced.
While the first set started out routine, with both women hold serving up until 4-all, Day seemed to be the player knocking a little harder on the door. It was then unsurprising when she created the first break points of the match and converted with a smash to set herself up to serve for the set a 5-4.
Out of nowhere, the two women’s levels suddenly flipped. Day played her first poor game of the match and double-faulted on break point to allow Bouchard back to 5-5. The Canadian held serve before Day threw in another stinker, going down love-40 and sending a backhand long on the second break point to hand the set to Bouchard.
It seemed like the Canadian was going to run away with the match when she broke early and took a 3-0 lead in the second set, but Day re-found her game and fought back to level at 3-3.
Once again, Bouchard was able to turn things back in her favour, turning defence into offence at the flick of a switch and breaking to love to set herself up to serve for the match at 5-3, where she ended her three-year drought at WTA 1000 events with a hold.
Bouchard is the third Canadian to reach the second round in Guadalajara, joining Bianca Andreescu and Rebecca Marino. The 2014 Wimbledon runner-up will meet 12th seed Jelena Ostapenko in her round two match.
One thing Bouchard learned the hard way in her career is just how good Petra Kvitova’s serve is when it’s on. But Bianca Andreescu had a read on it Tuesday in Guadalajara as the 2019 US Open champion took down the two-time Wimbledon winner in three sets.
Early on, Kvitova looked in prime form as she blasted every ball in sight. But Andreescu was able to disrupt the Czech’s rhythm and get in a groove on return as she rallied to reach round three with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-0 victory.
Andreescu broke the mighty Kvitova serve an impressive eight times out of the Czech’s 12 service games. Kvitova did herself few favours, committing eight double faults and did not hold serve after the first set. The Canadian did at times struggle to protect her own serve, but managed to save eight of 12 break points.
The middle of the first set saw both women struggling to hold serve, including a run of three straight breaks.
First, Andreescu was broken in a mammoth eight-deuce game where she finally missed a backhand on the fifth break point. Back-to-back double faults from Kvitova put the set back on serve, but the Czech rallied to break again in the next game.
Despite facing another break point that would have made it four breaks in a row, Kvitova was able to hold and shake of the service jitters. When it came time to close out the set, she held to love.
Another run of three straight breaks took place early in the second set, but this time it went in the Canadian’s favour. Andreescu seemingly figured out Kvitova’s serve, breaking every time the Czech stepped up to the line in the second set as the Canadian send the match to a decider.
Momentum firmly in her favour, Andreescu scored a fifth straight break early in the third set as she took a 3-0 lead. Another double fault on break point gave the Canadian a sixth break in a row and for good measure, Andreescu completed the emphatic win with yet another break to wrap up the win.
The Canadian has a tough road to her second WTA 1000 quarter-final of the season, as she will have to go through either third seed Jessica Pegula or Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in the third round.
Rebecca Marino came up just short of making it a trifecta for the Canadians on Tuesday, as she was beaten in her second-round match by sixth seed Caroline Garcia in three sets.
Early on, the Canadian was putting on a serving clinic, pounding aces at will, as she took the opening set. However, Garcia has been one of the hottest players on tour over recent months and showed why as she dug in to deny Marino of her first Top 10 win with a 6-7(2), 6-3, 7-6(5) win despite 24 aces from the Canadian.
Garcia had the first look at seizing the initiative with a trio of break points in the third game, but Marino served her way out of the jam. But despite serving well, the Canadian was unable to generate much in her return games.
That changed as Garcia served to stay in the set at 4-5. Twice Marino hit incredible returns to set up break points that were also set points, but both times she failed to get her return in play.
The first set tiebreak was dominated by the Canadian, who won six consecutive points from 1-2 down, including a stunning stretch forehand winner up the line to set her up to serve for it at 5-2, to steal the opening set. She closed it out with an ace, her 15th already at that point in the match.
For the first time in the match, Marino played a bad game on serve at 2-3 as errors put her in a 0-40 hole. She saved the first two break points with big serves, but fired a forehand wide to surrender the first break of the match.
She had a chance to break back in the following game, but it was Garcia’s turn to save a break point with a big serve as she held on and forced a deciding set.
It looked like Marino was running out of gas when she played another sloppy game early in the third to give away the break, but Garcia returned the favour in the eighth game, sending a forehand volley long and double-faulting to level the decider at 4-4.
Three more times in the set Marino faced break points and all three times the serve bailed her out with a pair of aces and an unreturned serve.
Another tiebreak was needed to decide the match. It looked like Garcia would run away with it when she took a pair of early minibreak and was serving at 4-1, only for the Canadian to win both return points on her way to a 5-4 lead. But that was as close as Marino would get as Garcia won the next three points to seal the win.
Just having reached the second round, Guadalajara was Marino’s best result at WTA 1000 event outside of Canada. Prior to this week, she had never won a main draw match at a WTA 1000 event other than the National Bank Open.