A former world no. 5 Eugenie Bouchard has found her tennis flame again, looking determined and motivated to improve her ranking position and chase titles in 2019. The Canadian lost in the opening qualifying round in Doha after struggling with a cold and she received the main draw wild card for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, making her debut at one of the strongest WTA tournaments following the last round qualifying loss in 2014.
Eugenie made a solid start on Sunday, defeating Vera Lapko 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 21 minutes for the second WTA win of the season, setting the thrilling second-round clash against a former world no. 1 Simona Halep on Tuesday.
Bouchard suffered three breaks against the Belarusian although she delivered some rock-solid numbers on the return to create 13 chances and convert seven, more than enough for straight sets win and to set that Halep clash.
Simona and Eugenie had played four times in the past, thrice in 2014 when Bouchard scored the only win over the Romanian in the semi-final of Wimbledon. At the Australian Open last year, Halep scored a 6-2, 6-2 victory and Bouchard doesn't want to think about that match ahead of their fifth encounter, focusing on the upcoming clash and hoping to deliver her best tennis and challenge a great rival.
“That wasn’t a really good match for me so I don’t want to think about that, or compare myself at different periods,” Bouchard said. “It’s just about going out there and trying to give it my all and give myself the best chance.
I don’t want to have any regrets after, no matter what happens. That’s my No 1 goal. Against Lapko, I asked my coach if I was aggressive enough because it felt like I wasn’t. I was also ready to expect big shots from my opponent.
Whereas in the next match I’ll have to try and take it to her a little more, but of course still have that consistency. Finding that balance is definitely one of the most crucial things. It’s about having that consistency and the aggressiveness because I know I play my best when I go for it.
But picking the right ball is important and that helps me to stay consistent. I’ll try to figure it all out”.