Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Genie finds form to oust Maria

2017 has been successful for Genie Bouchard in terms of swimsuits and Sports Illustrated but on the tennis court it has been essentially rubbish.
Before the Madrid Open, the former Wimbledon finalist had managed just seven wins from sixteen matches, and had no form to suggest anything would change here.

Forthright comments from Bouchard suggesting Maria Sharapova should never be allowed to grace a competitive tennis court ever again due to her drugs in sport offence, gained more headlines than any tennis exploits from the Canadian in recent times.

So it was uncanny how the two were drawn to meet in the second round in Madrid.  It took quite a bit of hard work for the match to occur, Sharapova having to come from a set behind to defeat Lucic-Baroni, and Bouchard surviving a two hour three setter against Alize Cornet.

Despite an atrocious first serve percentage, Bouchard used a reliable second delivery to good effect in an impressive opening set against Sharapova, and attacked the Russian, gaining 10 break opportunities.
Converting three was sufficient to win the set 7-5 and send a message to Maria.

In typical fashion Sharapova answered the message at 2-2 in set two, careering away to take the rest of the games in style and level the match 5-7 6-2.

The deciding set was intriguing to say the least.  Each player did their best to drop serve but showed immense technique and courage to save on each occasion.
Sharapova saved eight break points and Bouchard six.
Bouchard dug just a little deeper and achieved the first break in game seven, but Sharapova broke back straight away and had game points for a 5-4 lead.
Here she had an inexplicable concentration lapse, but credit to Bouchard for pressing, and the game turned to Canada and a third successive break.

Serving for the match, Genie Bouchard faced more break points but again fought through these to take the set and match 7-5 2-6 6-4 in just under three hours.

For players ranked 60 (Bouchard) and 258 (Sharapova) this was a top class tennis match, and surely both will be at least top twenty again before too long.

This one match overshadowed the exits of second seed Karolina Pliskova, her Czech compatriot Barbora Strycova (15) and Caroline Wozniacki (10).
Anastasija Sevastova, Lara Arruabarrena and Carla Suarez Navarro,  respectively, did the damage.

Mens seeds to leave the singles action were Jack Sock (14) in three sets to Nicolas Mahut, and Gael Monfils (15) to Gilles Simon in a crazy scoreline 0-6 6-0 7-6 (0)

Tsonga, Berdych, Dimitrov and Kyrgios all advanced to round two.

Kerber, Kuznetsova and Mladenovic are safely in round three.

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