Friday, 20 January 2017

Coco outlasts Genie

Today's third round match first up on Rod Laver Arena would feature two unseeded players in a North American standoff.  But the non seeding of Canadian Genie Bouchard and Coco Vandeweghe from the US belied their respective talents and achievements.  

Bouchard in particular has enjoyed the dizzy heights of semi finals of Grand Slam tournaments, including Melbourne Park, even tasted the final day on the grass of Wimbledon in 2014, though not quite ready for ultimate success.
Her top ten status has taken a battering in the years since, but her resurrection appears on track with performances leading into Aus Open 2017 and the first two rounds with wins over Louisa Chirico and Shuai Peng.

Coco made the fourth round at Wimbledon last year and here she has defeated 15th seed Roberta Vinci, then Pauline Parmentier.

With rain around, the roof was closed for this match - Bouchard chose to serve after winning the toss.
In game one, Genie survived a sizzling Coco backhand to reach game point, whereupon she located a gap into which she placed a nice looking forehand for 1-0.
Coco joined her at 1-1 including a service winner and cross court off forehand winner.

Genie won a game full mostly of errors, except for a stunning backhand winner from Coco, who continued to go for her big ground shots in the fourth game.  A couple proved too much for Genie, but she counterpunched well generally, not enough to prevent a 2-2 scoreline.

Genie took it to 3-2, not in the prettiest fashion, but she was willing to vary her serve and to not always stay back waiting for the return.  Coming into the net on occasion, albeit not always playing a sound volley, was a good way to keep Coco guessing.

The Bouchard serve became shakier in the seventh game, and she surrendered a lead, losing baseline exchanges and ending up pressured into a double fault and to be broken - Coco led 4-3.

Consolidating with a love game, Coco was either serving aces or unreturnables, and if not that, dragging Genie from one side of the court to the other as if on the end of a piece of rope. 5-3.

Anything you can do was how Genie reacted, serving up a love game of her own and throwing down the gauntlet to Coco to serve out set one.

No problem whatsoever, not losing a point and Coco Vandeweghe was 6-4 up and well on her way to the round of sixteen.

Genie began set two well, the most convincing service game for her of the clash to date.  Coco lost her edge, or must have left it sitting by her bag of racquets, because her serve was all over the place and not much of it in this arena.  Genie took advantage and broke for a 2-0 lead with an option to extend should she want to hold her next service.

She exercised the option and then asked Coco to have another try at registering a score in the set.  The American accepted and won a game, and Genie then chose the longest route possible to travel in reaching 4-1 where she settled, built a two bedroom house with sizeable back yard and waited for the grass to grow.

After Coco held serve for 2-4, forehand to the fore, Genie was much more assured in moving to 5-2, unhappy with her previous residence, her backhand working well here.

Big serving from Coco left the Canadian with responsibility for serving out set two, and Genie began with an off forehand drive winner, setting the scene for more success and three set points.  A double fault delayed celebrations momentarily but a shot long from The Vandeweghe racquet ended the second act of this show 6-3, with the decider to come.

Three unforced Coco errors and Genie had the same number of break points.  She only required one as she belted a forehand winner to clinch the early break in set three.  A steady flow of errors plagued the American into the next game and Genie eased out to a 2-0 lead.

An ace and other big serving enabled Coco to hold and trail 1-2.  In a game of errors, Genie committed fewer and inched closer to victory, now 3-1.
Not always accurate but certainly effective when hitting the mark, Coco landed two great serves to seal the fifth game and remain in contention at 2-3.

A Coco volley winner on the opening point of Genies next serve was more than countered by three mistakes.  Genie nervously slipped back to deuce with poor shots herself, and Coco kept putting her there with wonderful down the line and cross court winners.
Genie won out and maintained her cushion at 4-2.

A convincing game from Vandeweghe and 3-4. 
Game 8 critical
A forehand pass from Coco, and 30-30 and then at deuce a Genie gem on the line.  The following double fault was not in the script.  Nor the netted forehand which brought up break point.  A service winner denied that eventuality.
A netted backhand and a second break chance for Coco. The break came with a shot out of court from an angry Bouchard. 4-4.

Sweet forehand winner down the line from Genie for 0-15.  Next two points to Coco through Genie mistakes.  40-15 after a nicely structured point from Coco.  Double fault just to muddy the waters a bit.  Deuce after a wide backhand from Coco.
Break point now that Coco is attracted to the net.  Saved.  Second break point following another uncontrolled backhand.  Saved the same way with a shot too long.
More net trouble and another break chance.  Saved with a glorious forehand.
Time for an ace and Coco delivers - sadly she nets again for deuce.  That net is receiving a decent workout - Genie on this occasion.  Deuce once more after a double fault.  Genie finds more net.  Coco runs out of court room. Deuce (what else?) 
Break point after Coco shoots wide.  Genie also chooses wide and another deuce.
Volley winner from Coco and game point.
Service winner and believe it or not that was a single game won by Coco just to hold serve.

Genie now trailed 4-5 and needed to forget about that marathon because one slight slip and she was out.
Quickly to 40-0. A passing shot and 5-5 in a flash.  Coco had to serve all over again.

Apart from a double fault, a very comfortable hold and Coco led 6-5.  Of course no tie breaker in the final set.
Deuce after Genie put one wide. Match point after she put one long.
A screaming backhand winner down the line from Coco Vandeweghe won the game set and match 6-4 3-6 7-5.

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