Er­rors are Bouchard’s un­do­ing

Pospisil pulls out with back pain af­ter los­ing first set

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - FRONT PAGE -

Even Eu­ge­nie Bouchard did not ex­pect to find her­self play­ing a U.S. Open match Wed­nes­day in Arthur Ashe Sta­dium.

The 23-year-old Cana­dian is, af­ter all, still a plain­tiff in a law­suit against the U.S. Ten­nis As­so­ci­a­tion stem­ming from a fall at the fa­cil­ity dur­ing the tour­na­ment two years ago. Hers is no longer a mar­quee name in the sport, at­tached to a los­ing record this sea­son and a No. 76 rank­ing this week, far re­moved from the days when Bouchard was a Wim­ble­don fi­nal­ist and top-10 player in 2014.

Bouchard wound up los­ing meekly to Rus­sia’s Ev­geniya Ro­d­ina 7-6 (2), 6-1.

“I was sur­prised, yeah,” she said about the court as­sign­ment, “but it’s al­ways an amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity to play on the big­gest ten­nis court in the world.”

Against Ro­d­ina, Bouchard made 46 un­forced er­rors, 20 more than her win­ners. She also was bro­ken in five of nine ser­vice games.

“It’s one of those matches you kind of want to for­get about,” Bouchard said. “I just didn’t re­ally know what to do out there.”

Maria Shara­pova’s game might be patchy, but she is as ca­pa­ble as ever of com­ing up with big strokes in big mo­ments — and maybe could stick around for a while in a de­pleted draw. Shara­pova be­came the first woman through to the third round by us­ing 12 aces to help set aside a poor start and come back to beat Timea Ba­bos of Hun­gary 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-1.

Venus Wil­liams reached the third round for a sev­enth Grand Slam tour­na­ment in a row af­ter the 37-year-old beat 20-year-old Oceane Dodin of France 7-5, 6-4.

In men’s ac­tion and the up­set of the day, No. 4 Alexan­der Zverev of Germany lost to Borna Coric of Croa­tia 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (1), 7-6 (4).

Van­cou­ver’s Vasek Pospisil re­tired from his match with Spain’s Fer­nando Ver­dasco af­ter los­ing the first set 6-2.

Pospisil, who has been both­ered by back pain and strug­gled through the open­ing set, met briefly with train­ers dur­ing the changeover be­fore with­draw­ing.

Later Wed­nes­day, De­nis Shapo­valov of Rich­mond Hill, Ont., took on eighth seed Jo-Wil­fried Tsonga of France.

Mean­while, Do­minic Thiem and Grigor Dim­itrov made quick work of their op­po­nents. The sixth­seeded Thiem beat Aus­tralian Alex de Min­aur 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 and No. 7 Dim­itrov fol­lowed him with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 vic­tory over Czech qual­i­fier Va­clav Safranek.

No. 14 Nick Kyr­gios won’t be join­ing them, un­able to over­come shoul­der pain or fel­low Aus­tralian John Mill­man and fall­ing 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, 6-1.

Also ad­vanc­ing were No. 15 To­mas Berdych, who beat Amer­i­can Ryan Har­ri­son in straight sets, No. 18 Gael Mon­fils, who swept past fel­low French­man Jeremy Chardy, and an­other French­man, No. 30 Adrian Man­nar­ino, a straight-sets win­ner over Lithua­nian Ri­car­das Ber­ankis.

No. 22 Fabio Fognini and No. 26 Richard Gas­quet were up­set.

Fourth-seeded Ukrainian Elina Svi­tolina, whose match was stopped Tuesday as she faced a sec­ond-set tiebreaker, lost that when she re­turned be­fore beat­ing Ka­te­rina Sini­akova 6-0, 6-7 (5), 6-3. No. 14 Kristina Mladenovic of France was up­set, fall­ing 6-3, 6-2 to Ro­ma­nia’s Mon­ica Niculescu.

Eu­ge­nie Bouchard

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