Bouchard falls to defending champ
TORONTO — Eugenie Bouchard couldn’t hide her frustration Wednesday night at the Rogers Cup.
The rising Canadian women’s tennis star first tossed a racket on top of her bag after blowing a double-break point opportunity during the final set of a second-round loss to Petra Kvitova.
The racket was on the move again moments later as Bouchard threw it to the ground after double-faulting to give the defending champion a service break. The racket bounced up and almost struck her in the face.
The sixth-seeded Czech went on to close out the 6-3, 6-2 win in 86 minutes at Rexall Centre.
“I felt like I wasn’t playing my best, especially serving-wise,” Bouchard said. “I usually rely on my serve to dominate the point and control. I wasn’t doing that as well today so I was definitely a little bit frustrated.”
While composed for the rest of the match, the loss was a definite learning experience for the 19-year-old from Montreal.
The 2012 Wimbledon junior champ can also build on her first turn in the Rogers Cup spotlight after playing two straight nights in the showcase match on centre court.
Kvitova used her strong serve and powerful ground strokes to keep Bouchard on her heels. She seemed to have a read on Bouchard’s game, eating up the cut shots and drops that were working a night earlier for the young Canadian.
Kvitova also seemed to have a knack for winning the key points, helped at times by Bouchard’s unforced errors.
“I think it was a hard-fought battle and tougher than the score would indicate,” Bouchard said.
The wild-card entry, currently ranked 62nd in the world, is in her first full season as a pro on the WTA Tour. Bouchard has posted some impressive wins this year and is trying her best to soak up the experience each week.
“I know I can hang with the top girls,” she said.
“You know, in the points, we hit a lot of competitive points today. Obviously she would come on top of more than I did, so it’s just about working on being more consistent and being able to finish the points like she does and hopefully get better that way.”
Earlier in the day, Jelena Jankovic knocked out the other Canadian left in the singles draw of the US$2.369-million tournament.
The veteran Serb defeated Toronto’s Sharon Fichman 6-4, 7-6 (6).
Top-seeded Serena Williams made quick work of her first opponent by defeating Italy’s Francesca Schiavone 6-3, 6-2. Williams, who received a first-round bye, needed 75 minutes to complete the victory.
Her next opponent will be 13th-seeded Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium, who posted a 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 win over Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands.
“I felt good, I felt solid,” Williams said. “I obviously made a few errors but it’s just my first match on hard (court) in a really long time. I also played a really good player so it was a good match.”
There was one minor upset in the early afternoon as 11th-seeded Russian Maria Kirilenko dropped a 7-5, 7-5 decision to Alize Cornet of France. In the late match on the grandstand court, Sorana Cirstea of Romania upset ninth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 5-7, 7-6 (0), 6-4.
Seventh-seeded Marion Bartoli of France looked strong in her first competitive match since winning at Wimbledon last month. She defeated American qualifier Lauren Davis in straight sets.
“I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself because the last two times I played in Toronto I lost first round,” she said. “So I just wanted to enjoy myself on the court and try my hardest. Obviously being able to win 6-0, 6-3 was pretty good for me.”
Several seeded players posted comfortable straight-set victories.
Fourth-seeded Li Na of China beat Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 6-4, fifth-seeded Sara Errani of Italy topped Klara Zakopalova 6-2, 7-6 (2) and 10th-seeded Roberta Vinci of Italy downed Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 6-0, 6-4.
Also Wednesday, No. 16 seed Ana Ivanovic of Serbia beat Italy’s Flavia Pennetta 6-4, 6-4 and American Sloane Stephens, the No. 14 seed, got by Germany’s Mona Barthel 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
No. 12 seed Samantha Stosur of Australia defeated Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 and Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia defeated American Varvara Lepchenko 6-4, 6-2.
In first-round doubles play, Fichman and Ottawa native Gabriela Dabrowski beat Pavlyuchenkova and Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-7 (5), 10-8.
There was a short rain delay in the morning due to wet weather. Warm, sunny and breezy conditions were the norm through the afternoon and into the evening.
Notes: Tennis legend Billie Jean King was inducted into the Rogers Cup Hall of Fame on Wednesday evening. King, a former world No. 1, won 67 WTA singles titles over her career. ... Tennis Canada announced the lineup for the men’s exhibition matches this week. Feliciano Lopez will play Bernard Tomic on Thursday night while James Blake will meet Pete Sampras on Friday. ... Sampras, who is replacing the injured Andy Roddick, will also play John McEnroe on Saturday. McEnroe will also take on Jim Courier prior to the women’s final on Sunday.