Eugenie Bouchard/Sofia Kenin turns losses into an Auckland Doubles title


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Eugenie Bouchard/Sofia Kenin turns losses into an Auckland Doubles title

She was just done with a semifinal berth in the Luxembourg Open losing to Julia Goerges. She then played in the Hawaii Open, having fun and winning two out of three matches there. She'd bounce later to Auckland, New Zealand to be a guest judge at the Races and then down to tennis business on court at the ASB Classic.

Eugenie Bouchard went deep into the rounds, but deja vu hit her between the strings when Julia Goerges was again her opponent, this time in the quarterfinals. Two losses in a row was a bit too much to take from the same player, but going home was impossible too, for she was to partner with Sofia Kenin in doubles.

Sofia Kenin received a wild card for the Auckland tournament but was knocked out of the singles event by Viktoria Kuzmova in the second round. She didn't want to leave Auckland because she'd felt partnering with Eugenie Bouchard in doubles would be surreal and may turn into something big.

She's had a successful junior career and had defeated two players in the top 10 of the WTA, one being Julia Goerges, who Bouchard wasn't able to win over and the other was France's Caroline Garcia. Bouchard and Kenin were slow to warm in the first set with their opponents Paige Hourigan and Taylor Townsend running game after game on them.

They were finding it difficult to get their rhythm and their opponents just blasted them for three games. By the time the Canadian and American had gelled a bit, working in harmony, they had won only a single game and had lost the opening set 1-6.

But it was a reversal in techniques when the second set came and Kenin gave a surprised drop shot to Hourigan and Townsend. Kenin's dad sitting next to Bouchard's new coach Michael Joyce started to relax when they poured in some great harmony shots and began winning points.

The Canadian started showing a glimmer of her single playing aggressive self with Kenin backing up the shots with a put-away volley. The rhythm had begun and games slowly hit the scoreboard. Hourigan and Townsend were actually looking nervous as to the magic they first had to win the opening set had weakened on the court as they struggled to stop the unforced errors from ruining their strategies.

But Bouchard and Kenin had shown a bit of their singles strokes demeanour to combine three straight winning games. They relaxed out as the match went on, seeing that dictating their strokes very well started turning them into winners.

The young American was zipping down-the-liners and Bouchard was working their opponents over with powerful forehands and disguised shots that seemed to glide over the net with rapid speed. They took the second set at 6-1 by showing aggression and control.

The confidence was flowing for Bouchard and Kenin as Michael Joyce came down court during the break giving them positivity saying "Just keep things simple" Simple kept working for them as Kenin hit it to Townsend's feet earning an easy point.

While the Canadian and American were getting more comfortable and hitting their spots, Hourigan and Townsend were becoming unglued as to what happened to the combined skills they so outwardly displayed in the first set. Hourigan wanted to win in her own hometown of New Zealand but it looked like that wouldn't happen.

The Canadian and American were destined to win as each point made, produced only unforced errors for their opponents. It wasn't long before the Bouchard/Kenin team grabbed each other in excitement for winning a doubles title together.

Taylor Townsend was a bit discouraged but glad she and her partner were able to make it to the final and commented that "..things happen, things come down and they rose their [Bouchard/Kenin] level and we had to adjust"

It was for the winning team that Bouchard said "We had no expectations at the start of the week. We probably thought we would lose round one and just entered doubles for some extra match play" But obviously, that didn't happen either.

It was a partnering that produced not only a win but a title. When the on-court presenter of the trophies asked of Bouchard's feelings on the win, she'd sai:d "I've been in a couple of doubles finals and never happened to win so this is amazing"

As for Kenin she has never won a doubles title and this is the first time she has ever partnered with Bouchard. She explained their win saying "we had to start being aggressive" It was clear that was the remedy for her and partner Bouchard's winning more points.

The pairing up apparently worked for them and possibly they may get together again to show the fans and themselves that they have the skills to do well not only in singles but in doubles too.