(Madrid) It was not easy, but Eugenie Bouchard continued her momentum in the Spanish capital on Wednesday.
The 29-year-old Quebecer came from behind to defeat Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine 6-7(6), 6-2, 6-2 in the first round of the Madrid tennis tournament.
Bouchard, who is currently No. 285 in the world due to poor performance and multiple injuries over the past few seasons, overcame Yastremska after a two-hour, 20-minute marathon game.
She thus signed a third victory in a row on the clay courts of Madrid, after successively defeating the Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo and the American Elizabeth Mandlik in qualifying.
The 2014 Wimbledon runner-up never gave up, despite letting a hard-fought first set slip away. Bouchard also proved to be more opportunistic than her opponent, 149th in the world, en route to victory.
In particular, she took advantage of Yastremska’s four double faults, as well as her extreme generosity in a break situation – the 22-year-old Ukrainian conceded nine breaks in 21 occasions, no less. In comparison, the player from Westmount gave up her serve four times in eight opportunities.
In the second round, Bouchard will face another tough opponent: Italy’s Martina Trevisan, the tournament’s 18th seed.
Earlier Wednesday, Leylah Annie Fernandez lost 6-3, 6-4 in the first round to 15-year-old Mirra Andreeva.
After her backhand fell inbounds confirming her victory, the Russian raised her arms skyward and covered her face. She was unable to stop smiling as she made her way to the net, not believing what had just happened.
The one who will celebrate her 16th birthday in three days had just eliminated the finalist of the United States Open in 2021, savoring at the same time her first career victory on the WTA circuit.
Fernandez, the 49th racket in the world, was messy against the Russian who is at 194th in the WTA rankings, bending over after an hour and 16 minutes on Spanish clay.
The 20-year-old Lavalloise didn’t seem to be on her plate from the start. She posted a success rate with her first serve of just 59.6%, against 70.1% for the Russian.
Moreover, Fernandez won only 57.1% of the points with his first ball, and 63.2% with his second. By comparison, Andreeva won 68.1% with her first, and 65% with her second.
The Quebecer also lacked opportunism in the key moments of the match, being limited to a single break of service in six occasions. For her part, Andreeva stole Fernandez’s serve three times from five opportunities en route to victory.
It was Andreeva’s first time facing a player in the world’s top-50, despite the fact that she has recorded some good results so far this season. Her first main draw victory lifted her 2023 professional player record to 14-0, after capturing back-to-back ITF W60 Series titles.
Andreeva will face Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia, the tournament’s 13th seed, in the second round.
Emma Raducanu, who was the 2021 US Open champion, withdrew on Tuesday due to a right hand injury.
The 20-year-old was scheduled to face drafted Viktoriya Tomova on Wednesday, setting the stage for a possible second-round matchup against world No. 1 Iga Swiatek. The Briton was instead replaced by another drafted player; Austrian Julia Grabher.
Elina Svitolina, a former world No. 3 who played her first match in a WTA 1000 Series tournament in 14 months after parental leave, lost 6-4, 7-5 to Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
American Amanda Anisimova fell 7-5, 6-2 ahead of Arantxa Rus, while her compatriot Caty McNally lost 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 ahead of Dalma Galfi.