Bouchard stays pos­i­tive de­spite another early exit


Eu­ge­nie Bouchard was hailed as the new face of women's ten­nis just 12 months ago but the Cana­dian's down­ward spi­ral con­tin­ued on Tues­day with a hum­bling 6-0 5-7 6-2 loss to Swiss Belinda Ben­cic in the open­ing round of the Rogers Cup. Home fans had come out in force to cheer on the 21-year-old but had lit­tle rea­son to get ex­cited as the er­ror-prone Bouchard fell at the first hur­dle for the eighth time in 10 tour­na­ments.

De­spite the dis­ap­point­ing run, Bouchard was ea­ger to sal­vage some­thing pos­i­tive from her evening's work, latch­ing onto the fact she was able to over­come a list­less open­ing set to win the sec­ond and force the match to a de­cider.

"It's for sure a step in the right di­rec­tion," Bouchard told re­porters. "I feel like I started out a lit­tle bit rusty in a sense. Haven't had a lot of match play re­cently, but I was able to raise my game and I think it was pretty com­pet­i­tive out there af­ter that first set. "So I'm pleased with my per­for­mance." It has been a stun­ning fall from grace for Bouchard, who last year reached the semi-fi­nals of the Aus­tralian and French Opens and the fi­nal at Wim­ble­don. Ev­ery­one from world num­ber one Ser­ena Wil­liams to WTA Tour CEO Stacey Al­laster tipped her as the sport's next star.

How­ever, her me­te­oric rise has been fol­lowed by an equally spec­tac­u­lar slide that be­gan ex­actly a year ago at the Rogers Cup in Mon­treal where she lost her open­ing match to un­her­alded qual­i­fier Shelby Rogers.

"I think the losses are com­pletely dif­fer­ent," said Bouchard. "I was in a com­pletely dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tion last year com­pared to this year.

"I feel like I han­dled my­self re­ally well tonight, bet­ter than I did last year com­ing into that Mon­treal tour­na­ment. "I was fight­ing on ev­ery sin­gle point up un­til the end and at the end of the day that's all I can ask for." Fore­arm and ab­dom­i­nal in­juries forced Bouchard out of last week's event in Washington and the search for an­swers has led to two coach­ing changes in the last nine months.

Bouchard will now head to Cincinnati where she will con­tinue her buildup to­wards Flush­ing Mead­ows and the year's fi­nal grand slam, the U.S. Open. "I'm look­ing for­ward to the rest of the year as a chance to end the year on a bet­ter note than I started," said Bouchard. "I feel like I have some tour­na­ments left.

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