Eugenie Bouchard wins first match on main WTA Tour for 11 months

Eugenie Bouchard (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
Eugenie Bouchard (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images) /

Eugenie Bouchard took a good first step towards getting her tennis career back on track with a win at the ASB Classic in Auckland.

In a small but potentially significant step, Eugenie Bouchard has won her first match on the full WTA Tour in 11 months by beating Kirsten Flipkens at the ASB Classic.

The Canadian showed impressive character to come back from 5-2 down in the first set to defeat Flipkens 7-5 7-5 in the first round.

Bouchard lost her serve in the fourth game of the match but did not allow Flipkens a single break-point opportunity from then on in a battle lasting one hour and 39 minutes.

She entered the match ranked way down at 262, her previous high of number 5 in the world achieved in 2014 now a distant memory.

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But Bouchard’s bid to revitalise her career got off to a good start in Auckland against a player ranked 190 spots higher than her.

The 25-year-old’s reward is a high-profile second-round match against number eight seed Caroline Garcia, another player looking to bounce back to her best in 2020.

Garcia battled to a 5-7 6-3 7-5 win over American Taylor Townsend and has played Bouchard twice before, with each player winning one of the meetings.

Bouchard’s bad form meant the victory over Flipkens was her first at WTA International level or higher since her first-round triumph against Vera Lapko at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in February of last year.

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Her only other two wins in that 11-month span came at November’s Oracle Challenger Series, which is an event at WTA 125k level, the second tier of the Tour.

She has lost all of her main WTA Tour matches in that period, as well suffering defeats in her first match at two ITF events.

But Bouchard has persevered in a bid to get a career that has previously seen her reach the Wimbledon final, along with reaching the semifinals at two other Grand Slams, back on track.

Fellow Canadian Bianca Andreescu began her sensational rise to the top of the WTA Tour with a run to the final of the 2019 ASB Classic, a tournament where Bouchard reached the quarterfinals.

In Andreescu’s absence this year, Eugenie Bouchard will hope it can be the scene of the start of a remarkable return to prominence.

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And if Bouchard can beat Caroline Garcia, she can expect to find herself in the spotlight once again.