Canadian Eugenie Bouchard advances to second round at Wimbledon

LONDON — Eugenie Bouchard is off to the second round at Wimbledon.

The Canadian beat British wild card Gabriella Taylor 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 on Tuesday. A native of Westmount, Que., Bouchard qualified for the main draw with three wins last week.

“I feel a lot more comfortable on the court,” Bouchard told reporters after the match. “I feel a little bit more like myself. You know, I have always deep down had the belief, and it’s about, in the tough moments of the match, keeping that belief. I have that more and more now. Just trying to keep progressing.”

A finalist at Wimbledon in 2014, Bouchard was forced into qualification after seeing her ranking tumble to No. 191 before the tournament. The 24-year-old is now ranked 188th. Taylor is No. 180.

Bouchard returned to Grand Slam main draw action at Wimbledon after failing to qualify for the French Open. The win was just her second in the past four years in the main draw at Wimbledon.

Bouchard won 73 per cent of her points on first serve, as compared to just 59 per cent for Taylor. The victor converted on five of her 13 break-point opportunities.

Bouchard said plenty of Canadians were behind her on Tuesday.

“Yeah, I felt great support,” she said. “I saw a lot of Canadian flags. I got mobbed after the match, pretty much. But it’s a mob of love, so I liked it.

Bouchard, who is now working with longtime tennis coach Robert Lansdorp, will face No. 17 seed Ashleigh Barty in the second round. The Australian beat Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland 7-5, 6-3 on Tuesday.

“I think she’s playing great,” Bouchard said of Barty. “I think she loves grass. I really want to raise my level and try and play my best tennis against her and see what happens.”

Barty beat Bouchard in their only previous match, winning a three-setter on a hard-court in Miami last year.

Meanwhile, Vasek Pospisil of Vancouver lost 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan in a first-round men’s match on Tuesday. Kukushkin is ranked 77th, 20 spots ahead of Pospisil, who has lost his past five first-round matches at Grand Slams.

Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., the No. 26 seed, was scheduled to face Jeremy Chardy of France later Tuesday.

No. 13 seed Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., will play unseeded Australian John Millman in the second round on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, Gabriela Dabrowski of Ottawa and partner Yifan Xu of China, the sixth seeds in the women’s doubles draw, open their tournament against American Alison Riske and Olga Savchuk of Ukraine.

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