WHAT HAPPENED: No. 7 seed Eugenie Bouchard of Canada has been struggling since reaching the Wimbledon final this summer, having gone 1-3 during the Emirates Airline US Open Series. However, she found her best form again in her US Open first-round match on Louis Armstrong Stadium against Olga Govortsova of Belarus and easily prevailed, 6-2, 6-1 on Tuesday.
Govortsova, a 26-year-old ranked No. 120 in the world, failed to convert three break points on Bouchard’s serve at 2-2 in the first set. From there the 20-year-old Canadian raised the level of her game considerably. Hitting her backhands with more height and waiting for her opportunities to attack, she broke Govortsova in the next game when the Belarusian sent a backhand long and easily won the next two games to wrap up the set.
The second set was all Bouchard. A forehand passing shot on the run raised gasps from the crowd as she broke Govortsova to earn a 2-0 lead. As Govortsova began to get frustrated by the level of play from Bouchard, her own game began to fall apart with several unforced errors. Even strokes of luck went the way of Bouchard, as she hit a netcord winner on break point to take a 5-1 lead.
Bouchard converted on her first match point with a backhand error from Govortsova, wrapping up the match in just under an hour. She will be pleased with her overall stats in the match, hitting 19 winners overall and only committing four unforced errors in the second set.
"I'm happy to get a match under my belt and want to keep it rolling this week," said Bouchard. "I love playing the Grand Slams and just want to raise my level at the biggest stages and the biggest matches."
WHAT IT MEANS: Bouchard now matches the result from her only other appearance at the US Open, when she reached the second round last year. She’s also the only Canadian woman left in the draw after Sharon Fichman and Aleksandra Wozniak lost their opening round matches yesterday. Bouchard now has a potentially tricky second-round match against Sorana Cirstea of Romania,
She lies in the same quarter of the draw as No. 3 seed Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic, who has historically struggled at the US Open. With Bouchard being the only player on tour, man or woman, to reach at least the semifinals at all the Grand Slams this year, she will have a real shot at continuing that trend this fortnight if she can keep up the level of play she displayed today against Govortsova.
THE QUESTION: Do you think Bouchard will reach the semifinals this year and perhaps go even further?