Tennis

Eugenie Bouchard falls in qualifying to miss Australian Open main draw for 1st time since 2013

Leylah Annie Fernandez is one win away from qualifying for her first-ever Grand Slam main draw. The 17 year old from Laval, Que., defeated the 168th-ranked Mayo Hibi 6-4, 6-4 in the second round of qualifying at the Australian Open on Friday.

Canadian teen Fernandez 1 win away from 1st pro Grand Slam appearance

Canada's Eugenie Bouchard hits a return during her qualifying match loss against Martina Trevisan ahead of the Australian Open on Friday in Melbourne. (William West/AFP via Getty Images)

Eugenie Bouchard fell just short of reaching the Australian Open's main draw on Friday.

The Westmount, Que., native lost 6-4, 6-3 to Italy's Martina Trevisan with a spot in the tournament on the line. Ranked 211th in the world, Bouchard committed 29 unforced errors in the match.

With the loss, Bouchard will not participate in the Australian Open's main draw for the first time since 2013.

"Super tough," the native of Westmount, Que., said of the loss. "It's last round of qualies. I felt like I was close."

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Bouchard lost seven straight games from 4-4 in the first set before she rallied and got back to 5-3 in the second, getting plenty of encouragement from a small but supportive crowd. Trevisan held her composure, though, and closed with an ace.

Bouchard said the changing wind and left-handed Trevisan's different spin were tricky. But one distraction, she said, was just odd.

Every hit of the ball, every noise the players made, could be heard again a half-beat later.

After the third game, Bouchard went to chair umpire Carlos Bernardes to talk about the noise.

"I said, 'I don't know if it's a speaker, or a TV or what, but I can hear our match, like, half a second after. In the point, I hear us grunting during the point,"' she said. "It was weird."

The echo — from a giant TV somewhere behind the arena — continued until match point.

"That's, like, never happened to me before," Bouchard said.

Still, there's plenty she's experiencing now as she tries to work her way back. She's prepared to deal with it.

"Well, life is not a straight line upward," she said. "I just take the good with the bad. Sometimes you've just got to put your head down and grind, so that's what I'm trying to do."

Canada's Leylah Annie Fernandez, seen above at the 2019 Rogers Cup, defeated 168th-ranked Mayo Hibi 6-4, 6-4 to move within one win of the Australian Open main draw. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press)

Meanwhile, Leylah Annie Fernandez is one win away from qualifying for her first-ever Grand Slam main draw.

The 17-year-old from Laval, Que., defeated the 168th-ranked Mayo Hibi 6-4, 6-4 in the second round of qualifying.

Despite committing 39 unforced errors in the match, Fernandez recorded 34 winners — 21 more than her Japanese opponent.

The Canadian teen is making her first Grand Slam appearance as a pro this week in Melbourne, Australia. She won her first-round qualifying match by upsetting Romania's Patricia Maria Tig 6-2, 6-3 on Thursday. Tig was the seventh seed in the qualifying draw and ranked 113th in the world.

Fernandez, who won the French Open junior girls' title last summer, will now face American Danielle Lao in the final qualification round. The 28-year-old Lao advanced by defeating Japan's Kurumi Nara, ranked 27th in the qualifying draw, 7-5, 6-7 (2), 6-3.

Meanwhile, Toronto's Steven Diez and Brayden Schnur, of Pickering, Ont., failed to advance to the third and final stage of qualifying.

Diez, who was ranked 23rd in the qualification draw, fell to Japan's Hiroki Moriya in straight sets 6-4, 7-5 on Friday.

Schnur, the third seed in qualifying, lost 7-6 (3), 6-3 to Belgium's Kimmer Coppejans.

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