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Rediff.com  » Sports » Another shocking exit for Canada's Bouchard

Another shocking exit for Canada's Bouchard

August 09, 2017 10:46 IST

Canada's Bouchard ousted in first round of home tournament

Eugenie Bouchard

IMAGE: Eugenie Bouchard of Canada plays a shot against Donna Vekic of Croatia. Photograph: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Eugenie Bouchard's mid-season nosedive continued on Tuesday as the Canadian was swept aside 6-3, 6-4 by Croatian qualifier Donna Vekic despite having home advantage and the backing of an excited crowd in a first round clash at the Rogers Cup.

With only one match win since her French Open second round exit, Bouchard was hoping a visit home would result in a return to the victory column.

But she drew little inspiration from the crowd as she added to a long list of disappointing efforts, committing 32 unforced errors and seven double faults while being broken six times by a 21-year-old making a her first appearance in the main draw.

"I guess I am going to have to have a tournament in Croatia to finally have the home crowd," said Vekic, who earned a second round meeting with German third seed and former world number one Angelique Kerber.

"I hope I am going to have support (in the) next match and I hope we are going to play on this court again," added Vekic.

Bouchard, ranked as high as number five and hailed as the next big thing in women's tennis when she reached the Wimbledon final and the semi-finals at the Australian Open and Roland Garros in 2014, has seen her ranking plummet to 70 in the world and needed a wildcard entry into her home tournament.

The Rogers Cup, which alternates between Toronto and Montreal where Bouchard was born and raised, has never exactly been home-sweet-home for the Canadian who has made seven main draw appearances but four times dropped her opening match and only once advanced past the second round.

While her ranking does not rate centre court status, Bouchard's immense popularity does, the smiling 23-year-old stepping into the sun-kissed arena to huge applause before exiting 94 minutes later with a blank face and a sheepish wave.

Former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki opened her campaign with a 6-3, 6-0 second round rout of Ekaterina Alexandrova.

The Dane, who captured the Canadian trophy in 2010, is still looking for her first title of the season after being in five finals.

Polish 10th seed Agnieszka Radwanska, the Rogers Cup winner in 2014, kicked off her North American hardcourt campaign with a regulation 6-3 6-3 win over American CoCo Vandeweghe, who lost the final in Stanford on Sunday to compatriot Madison Keys.

"In tennis you don’t have easy draws - you have bad ones, or really bad ones,” said Radwanska, who will next play either Hungary's Timea Babos or Canadian Bianca Andreescu. "From the first round, you really have to play your best game to win."

Russian 16th seed Elena Vesnina was also an easy winner, dispatching another American Alison Riske 6-3, 6-3.

Catherine Bellis kept Tuesday from becoming a complete washout for the United States as the 18-year-old battled back from a set down to outlast Germany's Julia Goerges 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Thiem stunned, Berdych withdraws

Argentinean Diego Schwartzman provided the day’s biggest upset at the Rogers Cup when he took down third seed Dominic Thiem in a nearly three-hour battle on Tuesday.

Schwartzman climbed out of a 5-2 deficit in the decisive set, repeatedly escaping trouble, to win five straight games and pull off the victory 6-4, 6-7(7), 7-5.

Schwartzman had defeated 16th ranked Roberto Bautista Agut earlier in the year and pushed Novak Djokovic to five sets at the French Open, but his win over Thiem is his biggest win of the season.

Thiem made eight double faults in the loss.

Earlier, American Sam Querrey overcame a sluggish start to defeat Frenchman Vincent Millot 4-6, 7-6(4), 7-5.

The battle was the second meeting between the pair in a week after Querrey defeated Millot in straight sets at the Los Cabos Open on Thursday, a tournament the American won.

The 29-year-old Querrey staved off the upset bid by the 31-year-old Millot despite moving sluggishly around the court and his trusty first serve not being its usual lethal weapon.

His frustration boiled over early in the third set of the ATP 1000 event when he destroyed his racquet after having his service broken. He won the next four games after the outburst.

Querrey will face another Frenchman, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 2014 champion, in the round of 32 on Wednesday.

Emerging Canadian Denis Shapovalov defeated Brazilian Rogerio Dutra da Silva 4-6, 7-6(8), 6-4 in a thriller.

Backed by a home crowd that included Canadian NHL Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky, the 18-year-old staved off four match points in the second set before taking it in a tie breaker.

"The fans really carried me. It was so fun to be out there on the court, it was so loud and energetic," Shapovalov said.

"It’s a huge win. It gives me a lot of confidence and a lot of experience."

Shapovalov, who won the junior Wimbledon title last year and was granted a wildcard to the main tournament this year, faces the big-hitting Argentine Juan Martin del Potro in the second round.

Earlier on Tuesday, Czech Tomas Berdych, the number 10 seed, withdrew from the tournament prior to his first round match against Nikoloz Basilashvili citing a rib injury.

"I am sorry I have to apologise all my Montreal fans. I couldn't play, because of my rib dysfunction I need to get well to go to (the) office soon," Berdych said on Twitter.

His withdrawal led to a quick call to the lucky loser American Ernesto Escobedo, who had five minutes to prepare for the match, which he claimed with an upset 7-6(4), 6-4 victory.

In other matches, Belgian David Goffin and Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta prevailed in their respective three-setters and American Jack Sock beat Pierre-Hugues Herbert in straight sets.

Source:
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