U.S. Open: Eugenie Bouchard ready for 'tricky' Makarova
Fellow Canadian Raonic also in action Monday
Eugenie Bouchard will be keeping her mind off the draw and concentrating on Monday opponent Ekaterina Makarova as the Canadian aims to extend her run into the second week of the U.S. Open.
The 20-year-old Wimbledon finalist, from Westmount, Que., was forced into a fight back, which she handled with precision and calm, to beat Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-4 in a prime-time, third-round match at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday night.
To whoever plays 'Genie in a Bottle' on Arthur Ashe <a href="https://twitter.com/usopen">@usopen</a> when I walk on and off court: I love you.—@geniebouchard
Now the seventh-seeded Bouchard is one of only two top-eight seeds still alive after an upset-filled opening week at Flushing Meadows. The other? Serena Williams.
Keeping track of stats, however, is not on Bouchard's agenda.
"I try not to pay too much attention to the draw," Bouchard said. "I didn't even know my opponent ... until [TV interviewer] Rennae [Stubbs] told me on court.
"I really generally don't look at that. There are so many good players, it just shows even if you're a Top 8 seed or a Top 4 seed, you're not guaranteed to make your seed.
"Every match is just so, so tough. I'm happy I'm able to battle through these tough early rounds because you can't take anything for granted really."
Milos Raonic, the only other Canadian left in the U.S. Open singles draws, is scheduled to take on Japan's Kei Nishikori in the men's fourth round on Monday night.
Raonic, who reached the semifinals at Wimbledon, is seeded fifth. Nishikori is 10th.
'Always tricky playing a lefty'
Makarova, ranked 18th, won her only previous match with Bouchard, last August in Washington. But if Bouchard — the only woman this season to reach the final four of the three previous majors — plays her best, her Russian opponent might find it difficult to advance into a fifth career quarter-final at a major.
"I know she plays really well," Bouchard said. "She's played well this year.
"It's always tricky playing a lefty, so I'm going to get my 60-year-old [left-handed) coach to serve to me. Hopefully, that will prepare me a little bit.
"But I'm going to try to do better," she added. "When I'm ahead, I'm going to keep going, keep pushing, really try to impose my game.
"But at the same time, stay consistent, so I'm going to work on that in practice. I just want to do better in my next match really."
After winning in a fight back in her previous two matches, Bouchard hopes to drop the drama quotient.
"I don't have to go for crazy shots all the time, I don't always have to do an amazing winner," she said. "I wanted to go for it a little too much.
"It's about finding the right balance because I definitely want to try to go for it a lot."
'I try to block it out'
Bouchard has heard the roar of the New York crowd in her ears for her past two sessions, drawing highlight matches in the vast Arthur Ashe Stadium. It's an environment in which she seems to be getting more comfortable.
"It's a huge stadium - biggest in the world - with amazing hardcore tennis fans that really get into it," she said. "It's a different experience.
"It's something you, kind of, have to get used to. I try to block it out between points and stay focused on what I have to do.
"But I still try to use the energy a little bit the right way. It's definitely kind of a learning experience.
"I've had two night matches in a row, so I feel like I'm getting the hang of it a little."
With files from CBCSports.ca