EU­GE­NIE CONQUERS

Cana­dian de­clares she had ‘ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion’ to beat Maria for the first time

New Straits Times - - Sport - Eu­ge­nie Bouchard

MADRID been al­lowed to com­pete again fol­low­ing her pos­i­tive test.

Eu­ge­nie stood by her com­ments about Maria on ar­riv­ing in the Span­ish cap­i­tal and af­ter Mon­day’s vic­tory the Cana­dian said re­cent events had made her more fired up for the game.

“I def­i­nitely had some ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion go­ing into to­day, ob­vi­ously I had never beaten her be­fore and then there were other cir­cum­stances,” she told a news con­fer­ence.

“I was ac­tu­ally quite in­spired be­fore the match be­cause I had a lot of play­ers com­ing up to me pri­vately wish­ing me good luck, play­ers I don’t nor­mally speak to, get­ting a lot of texts from peo­ple in the ten­nis world that were just root­ing for me.

“So I wanted to do it for my­self, but also all these peo­ple. I re­ally felt sup­port.”

Af­ter suf­fer­ing a tough de­feat, Maria avoided get­ting drawn into the ex­tra furore sur­round­ing the

I def­i­nitely had some ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion go­ing into to­day, ob­vi­ously I had never beaten her be­fore and then there were other cir­cum­stances.

game.

“I’ve been part of this game for many years. I know what the drill is,” she said. “But at the end of the day, it’s just two ath­letes com­pet­ing against each other, and I’m one of them. That’s how I treat this game.

“What you work for for so many hours ev­ery sin­gle day is to be on the win­ning end of matches. To­day was just not that day.”

Mon­day’s en­thralling con­test, which lasted nearly three hours, cer­tainly lived up to the hype.

Eu­ge­nie, ranked 60th in the world, en­tered Madrid af­ter five tour-level open­ing round losses in a row and her three-set first round win over Al­ize Cor­net was her first since the Aus­tralian Open in Jan­uary.

But her ex­tra de­ter­mi­na­tion to beat Maria was on dis­play as she man­aged to win a gru­elling 70minute first set against the 30year-old Rus­sian by clinch­ing the 12th game.

Maria, who reached the Stuttgart Grand Prix semi-fi­nals last month in her first tour­na­ment since be­ing banned, was given a pep-talk by coach Sven Groen­eveld at 2-1 down in the sec­ond and roared back to win four straight games to wrap up the set.

But the Rus­sian played too many risky shots in the de­cider and, af­ter sav­ing three break points in two con­sec­u­tive ser­vice games, she was bro­ken in the sev­enth game.

Maria broke back im­me­di­ately but then dropped an­other ser­vice game to al­low Eu­ge­nie to serve out for the match.

The pair en­dured a brief, awk­ward hand­shake af­ter Eu­ge­nie claimed a place in the third round against top seed An­gelique Ker­ber, who she beat on her way to the Wim­ble­don fi­nal in 2014.

“It was a very tough match, not only phys­i­cally and ten­nis-wise, but also men­tally and emo­tion­ally,” Eu­ge­nie added.

“Each point was a bat­tle from the first point. It was re­ally a fight. I’m just proud that I came out stronger in the end and held it to­gether in the third set.” Reuters

PIC

Eu­ge­nie Bouchard cel­e­brates win­ning the match against Maria Shara­pova in the Madrid Open on Mon­day.REUTERS

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