Eugenie Bouchard battles to hard-fought first-round U.S. Open victory
The Czech Karolína Plíšková (left) gave Eugenie Bouchard a difficult challenge in the first round match at the U.S. Open Monday. (CP file photos)
Published Monday, August 26, 2013 7:59PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, August 26, 2013 10:59PM EDT
Westmount’s Eugenie Bouchard prevailed 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 in a physically-punishing 2 hour and 16 minute first-round match against a taller, more powerful Karolína Plíšková on a humid Monday afternoon at the U.S. Open.
The 57th ranked Bouchard was considered a favourite against the 72-ranked Karolína Plíšková but it was the young Czech who leveraged her height advantage to establish a powerful ground game against the scrambling Canadian.
Bouchard, 19, found herself on the defensive in the first set, which she lost 6-4.
She evened the match with a 6-4 win in the second set, thanks to some erratic play from her opponent.
The third set was a tense display with both players flirting with disaster but still managing to hold serve as they both battled fatigue following some lengthy, hard-hitting rallies.
Plíšková appeared to be running low on energy around the third game of the deciding set but managed to hang in to hold serve.
The young Czech then generated power with a forceful backhand, which Bouchard found herself struggling to return.
Plíšková looked ready to break in the eighth game, taking a 30-0 lead but Bouchard – clad in a tie-dye-style black, white and pink dress - used a series of well-placed serves to win eight straight points to take it to 6-5.
Then in the 12th game, Bouchard, with feet planted widely apart, laced a cross-court two-handed backhand to get herself to match point.
She then got the match-winning break on a long shot near the back of the court.
The shot was judged in and Plíšková had no chance to appeal, as the court was not equipped with video review.
Plíšková did not complain and immediately rushed to the net to shake hands with Bouchard.
Bouchard was the better player statistically, winning 41 percent of her return points against 31 for Plíšková. She got an impressive 72 percent of her first serves in, versus 53 for her opponent and also had three breaks against two.
“I was expecting a lot of myself,” said Bouchard after the match. “I wanted to play at my highest level. I didn’t play that well but I battled my hardest and I’m proud of that but I hope to improve for the next match. My serve was on for the whole match, even thought it was close at the end."
Bouchard said that she noticed her opponent tiring near the end.
“I was able to hold my serve easily and put pressure on her. I felt good at the end but I think she was starting to tire. I was running down every ball and I broke her to take the lead 6-5 and that was the turning point, that’s when I got my chance.”
Bouchard next faces the German Angelique Kerber who beat the Czech Lucie Hradecka 6-1, 6-1 Monday evening.
Kerber, the eighth seed, managed to get to the fourth round at the U.S. Open last year but had an early exit at Wimbledon earlier this year.
In other women's singles news Monday, Venus Williams surprised many by trouncing the 12th seeded Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 6-2.
Serena Williams later cruised over the Italian Francesca Schiavone 6-0, 6-1.
Blainville's Aleksandra Wozniak faces off in first round action against the Serbian Vesna Dolonc Tuesday at 11:00 a.m.
-With a file from The Canadian Press