GSTAAD, Switzerland - Former World No.5 Eugenie Bouchard is through to the second round at the Ladies Championships Gstaad by Ixion Services after coming back from a set down to edge past a determined Timea Bacsinszky in the opening round, 4-6, 7-6(1), 6-4.
“It was just a battle,” Bouchard said afterwards. “Even though she hasn’t played a lot this year, she has still been a Top 10 player and clay is her best surface, and she’s playing in Switzerland at home.
“All of the conditions were against me, so I just had to battle.”
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Both players came into the matchup in the midst of personal comebacks: Bouchard scored her first tour-level main draw win since February at Wimbledon, and she’s carrying the momentum into the clay of Gstaad, while Bacsinszky is competing in her first WTA tournament since the Miami Open after a right calf muscle tear in late April sidelined her from the entire clay and grass swings.
Bouchard came away with the early lead after breaking Bacsinszky for a 2-0 start, but the Swiss player broke straight back to level proceedings at 2-2. She took advantage of a few errors off the Canadian’s racquet to get ahead once again, grabbing the decisive break at 4-3 to take the opening set.
Bacsinszky faced even more resistance in the second set as the pair traded breaks six times to stay neck and neck. The Swiss player found herself two points away from taking the match, serving at 5-4, but Bouchard roared back to send them into a tiebreak. Bouchard allowed just one point as she took the pair into a deciding set.
The Swiss’ lack of match play was evident in the final set as Bouchard enjoyed plenty of short balls to attack, and she outlasted Bacsinszky in the long rallies. She opened up a 4-1 lead with back to back breaks - Bacsinszky grabbed one of the breaks back, but the Canadian served it out to win her first clay match of the year.
“I’m always trying to play with confidence,” Bouchard said. “A win is a win no matter what, and I’ll definitely get confidence from this. But I still have to try and keep raising my level.
“I know I haven’t been playing well this past week or this week in practice. Conditions are tough, and that’s just how it is. I’m still just trying to find my game.”
Up next, Bouchard will take on another Swiss player, No.8 seed Viktorija Golubic for a spot in the quarterfinals. Golubic lifted the trophy at the tournament’s inaugural edition in 2016, and booked her spot in the second round after a victory over Antonia Lottner, 6-3, 6-2, earlier in the day.