In one of the most roller-coaster matches of her young career, Genie Bouchard came out on the short end of a match with qualifier Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine on Tuesday night at the BNP Paribas Open – losing 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-4 in two hours and 49 minutes of messy, erratic, unpredictable and frequently dramatic-filled tennis.

Earlier, Milos Raonic had a much less complicated outing in the same Stadium 2 – putting away Tsurenko’s Ukrainian compatriot, Alexandr Dolgopolov, 7-6(2), 6-4 in an hour and 28 minutes.


The Bouchard match against Tsurenko, a 25-year-old ranked No. 85, featured sloppy, uninspired tennis right from the get-go by Bouchard. She fell behind early and seemed on the brink of losing the first set when she trailed 5-3. Her frustration was all too obvious and at 40-30, she tried a cop-out drop shot that landed short into the net. It looked to be good news for Tsurenko, but she pulled up lame chasing after it and had to take an injury time-out (above) to have her right ankle taped.

Bouchard held serve when Tsurenko returned and then broke in the following game when a shaken, slightly hobbling Tsurenko began it with consecutive doubles faults.

Eventually Bouchard went on to win an error-strewn first-set tiebreak after saving a set point when Tsurenko missed wide with an inside/out forehand leading 6-5 in the 12th game.


In the second set, Bouchard fell behind 3-0 but rallied to 2-3 and then felt something go in her lower left abdomen as she hit a winning serve on the first point. She left the court for treatment leading 15-love and returned (above) with a jaunty jog to make it look like she was fine. She soon leveled the set at 3-all.

Three games later leading 5-4, she served for the match but lost her serve on four quick, poorly-played points.

Tsurenko, whom this reporter had thought might retire at the end of the first set because she was in obvious discomfort with her foot, took control against an increasingly sketchy Bouchard and won the set. The foot occasionally looked to still be an issue but generally she moved well and took a 30-15 in the opening game of the third set. But then she double-faulted and Bouchard won the game and soon vaulted ahead 4-1.

Who would have believed then, as Bouchard had tightened up her game and Tsurenko looked somewhat resigned, that the Ukrainian would run off five games in a row?


Still leading 4-3, Bouchard called for a visit from coach Sam Sumyk.

It didn’t stem the Tsurenko tide and Bouchard played very poorly, over-hitting and just not being able to control her normally potent shots. The abdomen issue was obviously bothering her and Tsurenko, to give her her due, does hit deep with pace, although she doesn’t have the kind of angles on her shots that Bouchard does.

A double fault when she served at 30-all in the final game, followed by a forehand miss into the net on match point and Bouchard had lost with a remarkably wayward display after looking very much like herself in straight-set wins over Lucie Hradecka and Coco Vandeweghe in her first two matches.

She managed to be commendably composed in her media conference, joking that she didn’t want to be told how many unforced errors she had. The total was definitely not pretty – 74 to go with just 25 winners.

“A lot of things just didn’t go my way today in terms of everything,” Bouchard said, admitting that even before her abdomen strain she had been performing well below par. “I felt heavy out there, the legs were sluggish from the beginning of the match.  I tried to get myself going, but it was kind of a struggle throughout the whole match.”

There were a few petulant racquet tosses – one all the way to her chair as she walked off at a change-over – as well as a ball hit angrily high into the stands that went without a warning from umpire Eva Asderaki. “I just didn’t feel like I was myself at all in terms of how I was playing,” Bouchard said. “She (Tsurenko) was very solid, very consistent. I was really struggling.

“I think I let emotions get the best of me today. I don’t usually do that. I usually pride myself on not doing that. It’s been a while since I felt that emotional in a match and after. Sometimes, I guess, it happens, but it’s definitely kind of a learning type match. It’s a tough one. It’s a tough one to learn from, but that’s what I have to do.

“I think everyone has a bad day once in a while. I was feeling good this week. At least I had a few good matches. But, you know, I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know how to explain it. It’s unfortunate.”

Looking ahead, specifically to the Sony Open in Miami beginning next week, Bouchard appeared optimistic that her injury will heal.

“It’s something I have had before, and if I take care of it right away, it’s something that has gone away quickly in the past,” she said. “I’ll cross my fingers for that.”

Although Bouchard had called for Sumyk for an on-court coaching midway through first set, she did not ask for a visit in the second set as things began to unravel as she dealt with her injury. Only leading 4-3 in the final set did she signal for Sumyk .

“It’s something I don’t want to use too much, because in the biggest tournaments of the year we are not allowed that,” Bouchard said explaining her reluctance. “I want to try and figure it out on my own, and that’s his mentality as well. You know, just if I’m maybe feeling desperate or something. He helped me when he came out, but that’s something I don’t want to use that much.”


It was nice to see Dolgopolov in Stadium 2, where he had lost earlier, supporting his compatriot Tsurenko, even if it was in a very relaxed manner.


All and all it was an eminently forgettable evening for Bouchard. But she seemed to handle the loss well, at least in her media conference when she displayed maturity and poise in dealing what had been a thoroughly disappointing and frustrating experience.


Earlier in the day, Raonic had advanced to the round-of-16 by avenging a loss to Dolgopolov in the Indian Wells quarter-finals a year ago.

It was a solid performance from the No. 6 seed, but nothing exceptional as his winners to unforced errors ratio of 27/34 would indicate.

The match was basically decided in the first set tiebreak – and maybe on two shots in that tiebreak. On the opening point with Raonic serving, the players got into a rally that ended when Dolgopolov missed a cross-court forehand into the net when he had a clear opening. The second was when the Ukrainian served at 2-3 and missed wide with a risky, aggressive backhand down-the-line. That gave Raonic the mini-break and all the separation he needed. He didn’t lose another pointed aided by a 132 mph ace and some misfires by Dolgopolov, including ill-conceived drop shot attempt on the penultimate point.

Raonic survived two break points in the opening game of the second set and gradually wore down an increasingly short-fused Dolgopolov. He got the only service break of the match in the fifth game when the Ukrainian missed a backhand into the net on the second break point.

Most players facing Raonic accept that he will dominate on his serve but hope to make inroads if they can the world No. 6 into extended rallies. On Tuesday, Raonic held his own in those rallies. Frequently it was Dolgopolov who coughed up the unforced error.

Asked afterward if he had deliberately played a little more cautiously in the rallies, challenging Dolgopolov to stay with him, Raonic answered, “It’s difficult, really, especially first matches here. For me, I’m still finding my range on things. I tried to, especially the first few matches, play very simple, high percentage tennis. And then as the tournament goes on, like everybody else, you’re just going to keep getting better and better. That’s when you start letting go a bit more and maybe go for shots that are a little bit more risky and are more comfort plays.”


On Wednesday, Raonic will face Tommy Robredo for a spot in Friday’s quarter-finals, possibly against third-seeded Rafael Nadal. The draw opened up for him when Robredo, 32 and ranked No. 19, upset No. 11 Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 on Tuesday.

Raonic is 2-0 lifetime against Robredo – winning 6-4, 6-3 on clay in Monte Carlo last year and 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(2), also on clay, in Barcelona in 2013.

This ‘seasoned’ reporter had a little fun with Raonic during his post-match media conference. When he served at match point, he bounced the ball nine times before finally beginning his motion and striking the ball. Normally he is meticulous about bouncing an even number of times – usually anywhere between six and 12.

Here’s the exchange:

Q. Either you’re losing your marbles or I am. We know what the odds are of that. On the last serve you seemed to bounce the ball nine times. Something going on here?

MILOS RAONIC: It worked.

Q. No other comment on that?

RAONIC: I don’t know. I didn’t think about that.

Q. Has that happened very often?

RAONIC: I think I bounced and then I stopped, and then I bounced probably an even number. I don’t think it was a straight nine. I don’t know. Who knows?  Maybe I forgot how to count and I need to spend time with my niece and nephew practicing again.


As can be seen in the picture here, sometimes Raonic has a habit of sitting in his courtside chair during change-overs and looking like he’s meditating while tapping his hands on his thighs.

Here’s another media conference exchange, with Raonic making an obvious joke with his reply:

Q. The little meditation routine when you sit down at the change-overs, what’s that all about and where did it come from?

RAONIC: I have been taking piano lessons, so I just practice on court.

Right after the match, the on-court announcer asked Raonic about his coach Ivan Ljubicic winning the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells (the biggest title of his career) five years ago in 2010. Raonic smiled and responded that if Ljubicic didn’t remind him about that memorable victory then someone else in his team inevitably would.

Pospisil-Sock win in doubles


Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock moved into the third round of the BNP Paribas Open doubles with a 7-6(4), 6-2 win over Andre Begemann of Germany and Ernests Gulbis of Latvia.

Sock, who for the second time in three days had won a tough three-set match in singles before playing the doubles, certainly showed no signs of wear and certainly held up his end of the partnership.

The tiebreak had one predictable aspect to it – when Begemann and Gulbis lost the point to go down 6-4, Gulbis smashed his racquet on the court. He then walked over to get a new one and casually tossed the mangled frame to a fan in the crowd.

Pospisil and Sock will face top seeds Mike and Bob Bryan in the quarter-finals on Thursday.


One Wednesday, they will have a day off from doubles but Sock will be in action in singles. Playing his first tournament since right hip/pelvic surgery last December 16, the 22-year-old American, ranked No. 58, he takes on world No. 2 Roger Federer.

Four sides for Andy


Following his third-round victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber on Monday, Andy Murray was interviewed on court and asked to sign three balls to hit into the crowd. While speaking with the on-court announcer, Murray noted that he never understood why players only signed three balls. He didn’t actually say it, but the clear implication was that there are four sides to just about every stadium so signing four balls made more sense.

He then proceeded to sign four balls and hit them to each side of 16,100-seat Stadium 1, whacking them as hard as possible so they went up to the fans in the upper-deck cheap seats.

For Rafa fans


Rafael Nadal is in Indian Wells this week with Francisco Roig, who is substituting for regular coach Uncle Toni.

Below is a fun audio clip with Rafa from his round-table meeting with the media before the men’s main draw began last week.

In it, he discusses Carlos Bernardes and his reaction to being called for time violations by the Brazilian umpire during the Rio de Janeiro tournament in February.