Eugenie Bouchard, the 20-year-old Canadian who is one of the fast-rising generation in the women’s game, continued her excellent form in the 2014 Grand Slams by reaching the fourth round here with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Germany’s Andrea Petkovic.
Bouchard, seeded 13th, was a semi-finalist at both the Australian and French Opens, and she confirmed her appetite for grass court tennis, first evident when she won the junior girls’ title at Wimbledon in 2012, by going one better already than her third round achievement on her Wimbledon senior debut last year. The time given for the match was one hour 31 minutes but it was suspended for rain after just ten minutes and play did not resume until early evening after a four hours 35 minutes hold-up. Perhaps it was this long delay which accounted for the indifferent form of both players when they got back on court.
Petkovic, in particular, struggled to find any sort of consistency on serve. She held only once in four attempts in the first set and was broken twice in the second set to suffer her first defeat against Bouchard after having racked up three straight victories over the youngster.
Both players had dropped serve once by the time they were forced back to the dressing room by the weather. When they finally got back on court Petkovic, who was also a semi-finalist at Roland Garros this year, was immediately broken by a Bouchard backhand service return of high quality. The comedy of service errors continued as the Canadian was broken and then promptly snatched the Petkovic serve once more, which made five breaks of serve in the first six games.
Comparative normality was then restored, but it was Bouchard’s greater accuracy and depth, especially on her forehand which swung the set her way. Even so, she only managed to close it out, after 44 minutes’ play, on her third set point courtesy of a Petkovic forehand into the netting.
Bouchard got off to a bright start to the second set with another service break and led 3-1, only to be pegged back at 3-3. However, once she had broken Petkovic for the fifth time (yet another faulty German forehand) she needed only to hold her own serve twice to confirm her place in the last 16. The first service was held confidently, and impressively, to love but when she served for the match the Canadian, who won the Women’s Tennis Association Newcomer of the Year award in 2013, squandered two match points before settling it with a drive volley.
Petkovic offered one reason for her defeat – the continual coughing of a spectator. “It was so loud and really annoying. I didn’t want to say anything and Genie was kind of shy because she didn’t know how I felt after losing the match. It was so funny because I had it in my mind the whole time. You constantly hear it in the back of your mind.” Bouchard agreed that it was “kind of distracting”.
She also admitted, “My serve wasn’t going so well today. I didn’t have a high percentage on my first serve and she took advantage of that.”
“Even though it was straight sets it was a tough battle,” was Bouchard’s verdict. “I know to expect that from her. I m hapy I was able to close out the match with my serve being aggressive and taking the ball early as usual.”
She dismissed the rain delay as being a distraction. “The rain is part of the Wimbledon experience and so far we have been lucky. You have to have rain first to go through Wimbledon.”
Now Bouchard faces Alize Cornet, conqueror of Serena Williams, in Monday’s fourth round. “To beat the number one player in the world is no easy feat, so I know she is playing great tennis. I’m looking forward to a battle. But I’m going to focus on me because tennis is very mental and that’s something I have improve on a lot recently.”
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