Bouchard outmuscles Garcia
Melbourne, January 23
Eugenie Bouchard outmuscled France’s Caroline Garcia in straight sets to make the fourth round of the Australian Open, but admitted her performance was below par. Bouchard, a semi-finalist at Melbourne Park last year, had her service game put under pressure in a 56-minute first set before she ran away with the match 7-5 6-0.
“I don’t think it was the prettiest tennis out there today,” said the big-hitting Canadian.
“I didn’t get much rhythm, she was hitting some pretty good balls and I’m just happy I got through it. I wasn’t playing my best.”
The 20-year-old will face Irina-Camelia Begu next after the Romanian defeated Carina Witthoeft, of Germany, 6-4 6-4 in the fourth round, with a potential quarter-final against second-seed Maria Sharapova looming.
The rising star will need to improve on Friday’s showing if she is to stand a chance against the Russian and go on to achieve her stated aim of winning a maiden Grand Slam in the near future.
She followed up last year’s Melbourne semi-final with appearances in the final four at Roland Garros and the decider at Wimbledon, but seems happy to rely on her powerful groundstrokes.
Garcia has a similar game and there were breaks galore in the first set as both players managed to hold serve just once in the first eight games.
The French world No 36, who beat Bouchard in their only previous meeting, held off eight break points in one game, but it was Bouchard who toughed it out.
Renowned for her intense on-court demeanour, she maintained the pressure as Garcia’s resistance cracked and her error count mounted, finally snatching a decisive fourth break to take it 7-5.
From there, Bouchard romped home to take the second set with a ‘bagel’ set.