Bouchard Eases Into Second Round

No.2 seed Eugenie Bouchard eased past Alisa Kleybanova and into the second round of the Portugal Open.

Published April 29, 2014 12:14


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OEIRAS, Portugal - Eugenie Bouchard began her European clay court season with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Alisa Kleybanova at the Portugal Open.

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The Plot
Bouchard has been one of the breakthrough acts of the 2014 season, soaring up the rankings thanks to a series of mature performances that have belied her tender years. The most recent of these came on the green clay of Charleston earlier this month, where she defeated Venus Williams and Jelena Jankovic en route to the semifinals.

On Tuesday, in her first match on European soil since last summer, the Canadian took on another of the year's feel-good stories, Alisa Kleybanova.

The Turning Point
Kleybanova warmed up for Oeiras with an impressive quarterfinal run in Stuttgart, and she carried this form into the early stages with Bouchard. However, as the match wore on Bouchard's freshness started to tell. The Canadian began to take control midway through the opening set, claiming the decisive break in the fifth game.

Things went from bad to worse for Kleybanova at the start of the second, Bouchard staging a miraculous mid-rally recovery to capture an early break. From here, the No.2 seed never looked back, breaking serve three more times to cruise into the second round.

"It was a solid performance. I was pretty happy with how I played - I was aggressive but I was also able to neutralize her shots, because she can hit some pretty big balls," Bouchard said. "I really tried to take advantage of my serve and just tried to put pressure on her whenever I could. I'm moving well on the clay and it's good to get another win.

"That point at the start of the second was crazy: I was on the run and I fell and had pretty much given up on the point. But then I saw the ball come near me and I though just for fun I'd hit it. My shot was kind of weird but I got back in the point and then managed to hit a passing shot.

"I'm looking forward to seeing the video of that and I'm sure I'll have a good laugh!"

What's Next
In the second round, Bouchard will face Yaroslava Shvedova, who defeated Karin Knapp, 62 64, on Monday.

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