Bouchard's Fairytale Run Continues
Published January 21, 2014 12:15
The seedings may not have been in her favor - Ivanovic was the No.14 seed, Bouchard No.30. But Bouchard had won the pair's only previous meeting, and on a very big court too, the biggest in fact - she won their second round encounter on Centre Court at Wimbledon last summer in straight sets.
This time Ivanovic came out stronger - she took the first set, 7-5, and after falling behind 5-3 in the second set looked like she might close it out in straights, winning two games to catch up to 5-all.
But with some impressive athleticism and a barrage of winners off both wings and from all corners Bouchard pulled away from there, sneaking out two games to take the second set then storming out to a 4-1 lead in the third, then 5-2 - and with Ivanovic stepping up to serve one last time the Canadian stepped in, firing a forehand winner on match point - her 47th winner of the match - to win, 57 75 62.
"The key was really just staying with her, battling," Bouchard said. "I played her once last year. I feel like she's playing at a much higher level right now. I know she won a tournament earlier this year, and she was playing really well - so I just had to stay with her and try to control the point a little more.
"Having lost the first set, I just tried to focus on what I had to do during the point to try to win, really try to keep pressing her and moving forward. That's what kept me really calm, and I felt like my game kind of got better as the match went on. I just needed to relax a little bit and keep playing my game."
Perhaps the biggest sign of Bouchard's future potential is how calm she is with everything. In her press conference she was asked whether there's a "pinch me part of this" for her during this run.
"No," she said. "It's something I've been doing since I was five years old and working my whole life for and sacrificing a lot of things for. It's not exactly a surprise. I always expect myself to do well.
"I'm happy to have gone through this step. I'm not done. I have a match on Thursday."
"If at the beginning of the summer someone told me this would be the outcome of it, I would agree to it," Ivanovic said. "I had some really good wins, some very emotional wins, and a lot of positive things came out of it. Obviously it's very disappointing the way it ended, but on a positive note I feel like maybe I played the best tennis of my life here. I just want to keep my head up and keep working hard."
And on Bouchard? "I think she has a very bright future in front of her," she said. "I felt in the beginning of the match we were both very nervous, but in the third set she was really strong and played well on the big points. She was aggressive. She was pushing me back, instead of me stepping in.
"She's definitely brave. I think she's a very great player with a bright future."