MADRID, Spain - Eugenie Bouchard backed up her big upset over Maria Sharapova with a straight sets win over Angelique Kerber to reach her first ever Premier Mandatory quarterfinal at the Mutua Madrid Open.
Under the swirling winds at the Manolo Santana Stadium, Bouchard was able to adjust to the tricky conditions as Kerber was forced to retire down 6-3, 5-0 citing a left thigh injury.
“All in all I'm very pleased,” Bouchard told reporters after the match. “I felt I started off a little bit off 'cause the conditions were so different. It was cold. It was really windy from one side to the other, a strong wind. The atmosphere was different from my previous match.
“At the beginning I just felt a little bit out of it, a couple loose errors. But then after that, I got myself together and got my rhythm, felt pretty awesome out there.”
The Canadian came into the matchup with a 3-2 lead in the head-to-head record against the soon-to-be World No.1, with two of her three victories coming on clay.
Bouchard took advantage of an uncharacteristically lackluster performance from Kerber to fire 19 winners past the German and hit 10 unforced errors, while Kerber just couldn’t get going with 11 winners and 14 unforced errors.
A marathon nine-minute opening game went the way of the German as Bouchard dodged two break points before Kerber fired a forehand passing shot to take the first break.
But Kerber just couldn’t find a way to hold her serve when the Canadian finally got going, hedging her margins and keeping Kerber under pressure as she broke her four more times to take the opening set.
Bouchard kept up the momentum into the second set and Kerber didn’t have many answers to the Canadian’s steady assault. With her movement looking increasingly hampered towards the end of the set, Kerber called the trainer for a medical time out after Bouchard notched her seventh straight break.
After receiving treatment, Kerber was forced to withdraw trailing 6-3, 5-0, citing a left thigh injury, sending Bouchard to the Madrid quarterfinals.
“I don't know what it is exactly. I know it's the left hamstring,” Kerber explained in her post-match press conference. “I just felt it in the last game. I think now I will just check it.
“I will check it maybe tonight or tomorrow. I will see. I hope it's not too serious. But, yeah, I can feel it a little bit.”
The Canadian will take on Svetlana Kuznetsova in the next round as she fights for a spot in the Madrid semifinals.
“She's playing well in general right now,” Bouchard assessed. “Also I think she ended the year really, really well. It's going to be a good battle. I've practiced with her before, played against her. I've always enjoyed it because she gets a lot of balls back, but she also goes for it. We both have just battled.
“I just want to have fun. I just want to enjoy it and just go for it, as usual.”