Eugenie Bouchard made a smart choice after deciding to come to Europe and entering the qualifying draw in Istanbul. The Canadian reached the main draw and scored four victories to advance into the seventh WTA final, the first since Kuala Lumpur in 2016!
In the semis, Bouchard took down Paula Badosa 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 25 minutes, racing past the tired opponent to remain on the title course. On the previous day, the Spaniard played an extended and grueling encounter with Polona Hercog, losing energy and not having much left in the tank for the next clash against the Canadian who fended off six out of seven break points.
Bouchard delivered four breaks to control the scoreboard, competing on a high level to take another step towards the trophy. Badosa made the best possible start, winning the opening eight points (a break at love with a return winner) for an early 2-0 advantage.
Eugenie broke back in the fourth game when Paula netted a backhand, wasting another break chance in game six before stealing Badosa's serve at 4-3 when the Spaniard hit a double fault. Bouchard sealed the set after a forehand winner in game nine, landing a forehand winner to gather momentum ahead of set number two.
Both players squandered two break chances in games three and four before Eugenie grabbed a break to open a 3-2 gap. Serving to confirm the lead, Bouchard fended off four break points ad stole the rival's serve at love with a forehand winner, forging a 5-2 advantage and sealing the deal with an ace a few minutes later for the place in the final.
Eugenie Bouchard and Patricia Maria Tig will play for the title.
In the second semi-final, Patricia Maria Tig took down a qualifier Tereza Martincova 6-3, 6-3 in an hour and 49 minutes, reaching his third WTA final. Both players had nine opportunities for a break, with the Romanian converting seven of those to impose her rhythm and cross the finish line first.
They traded four breaks in the first five games to stay neck and neck, with Patricia Maria rattling off the last four games to clinch the set 6-3. Delivering one good return game after another, Tig opened a 5-1 advantage in set number two, stealing the opponent's serve six times in a row and moving over the top with a hold in game nine.
"During quarantine, I was in the gym every single day working super hard. It was tough because I didn't have an end goal or a tournament to look forward to, but I decided to focus on my fitness, an important element for my game.
It's something I've started doing a lot in the past year - I have days where I work physically with a great trainer, so it's been one of my goals. And this week shows me that it's been worth it, and gives me the trust that I've done the right thing," Eugenie Bouchard said.