Canadian Eugenie Bouchard heading to final of Istanbul Tennis Championship

The 26-year-old Canadian is ranked 272nd in the world

ISTANBUL — Canadian qualifier Eugenie Bouchard has advanced to the final of the Istanbul Tennis Championship.

Bouchard, from Westmount, Que., beat world No. 94 Paula Badosa of Spain 6-3, 6-2 in the semifinals of the WTA Tour clay-court event on Saturday.

“I am specifically proud with how i handled myself every day because I’ve had to play a match every day,” Bouchard said.

“Tomorrow’s going be my seventh day in a row so it’s kind of playing the same number of matches to get to the final of a Slam. It’s like playing a Grand Slam but in half the amount of time.”

The 26-year-old Canadian, ranked 272nd in the world, saved six of seven break points against Badosa.

Bouchard, who won two qualifying matches to get into the main draw, will play the winner of the other semifinal between world No. 136 Tereza Martincova of the Czech Republic and No. 88 Patricia Maria Tig of Romania.

It will be Bouchard’s first final since 2016. Her only career tournament title came in Nuremberg, Germany in 2014.

A former world No. 5 after reaching the final of Wimbledon in 2014, Bouchard’s ranking has tumbled in recent years,

Bouchard’s ranking is projected to rise to No. 163 if she loses the final. If she wins, she’ll crack the top 150.

Because of her ranking, Bouchard has no idea what’s next on her schedule. The U.S. Open didn’t have qualifying this year because of COVID-19, preventing lower-ranked players from having a shot to get into the main draw.

“I want to play as much as possible,” she said. “Anywhere I can get in with my ranking or with a wild card is where I’m going to go play. Things are a little more last minute these days with this kind of abbreviated schedule.”

This is Bouchard’s third run to at least the quarterfinals this year. She reached the quarterfinals in her first tournament back from the COVID-19 suspension last month before losing in three sets to world No. 18 Elise Mertens in Prague.

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