Eugenie Bouchard downs No. 8 Garcia to earn another win at Auckland Open

Canadian Eugenie Bouchard cruised into the quarter-finals at the Auckland Open on Wednesday, defeating France's eighth-seeded Caroline Garcia 6-4, 6-4 in New Zealand.

Canadian moves into quarter-finals after 6-4, 6-4 victory in New Zealand

Canada's Eugenie Bouchard salutes the crowd after winning her second-round match over France's Caroline Garcia at the Auckland Open on Wednesday. (Chris Symes/Photosport via AP)

Canadian Eugenie Bouchard cruised into the quarter-finals at the season-opening Auckland Open in New Zealand on Wednesday, for the second year in a row. 

The Westmount, Que., native dispatched France's eighth-seeded Caroline Garcia 6-4, 6-4 to move on at the tournament in which fellow Canadian Bianca Andreescu reached the final last year.

"I had no expectations [before the tournament]," said Bouchard. 

"I kind of want to continue having no expectations result-wise. I have expectations on myself, my actions and what I try to do on the court. But my ranking's dropped and I try to see it as I'm rebuilding and in a way have no pressure. I just want to leave it all out there and go for it."

While Andreescu's surprising run was a sign of things to come, Bouchard's emergence could signal a revival. The 25-year-old has experienced a big drop in the rankings to 262nd since reaching No. 5 in 2014.

Bouchard's opening round win over Belgium's Kristen Flipkens was her first above a 125K event (the lowest level on the WTA Tour) since last February in Dubai. Now, she's put together two straight.

Along with reaching the singles quarter-finals in Auckland last year, Bouchard also captured the ASB Classic doubles title with American Sofia Kenin.

"It's special. Auckland has always been good to me," said Bouchard, who got a wild-card entry into this year's tournament. "I'm happy to be here. Just grateful I have another day alive, another match to play."

Against Garcia, Bouchard fired home two aces while double-faulting just once. Crucially, the Canadian produced 11 break points and converted on three of them, compared to just one break in five opportunities for Garcia. 

Bouchard's next opponent will be American No. 3 Amanda Anisimova. 

New partnership 

Meanwhile, Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki prolonged their one-time-only doubles partnership Wednesday when they advanced to the semifinals.

Playing together for the first time in their careers, Williams and Wozniacki beat top-seeded Johanna Larsson and Caroline Dolehide 6-2, 6-1.

The pair will not play together at the Australian Open, which will be Wozniacki's final Grand Slam tournament before retirement. So the Auckland tournament offers the only chance for fans to savour the sight of two former No. 1 players playing as a partnership.

The match against Larsson and Dolehide, both accomplished doubles players, was the toughest test of their partnership. Larsson has 13 doubles titles and Dolehide has been a U.S. Open doubles semifinalist.

Caroline Wozniacki and Serena Williams have brought their off-court friendship to the court with a one-time doubles partnership at the Auckland Open. ( Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Williams was a driving force in their win Wednesday, dominating the court, though she paid tribute to Wozniacki who "never missed."

"We're just having a great time," Wozniacki said. "Even if I miss a couple and I'm mad at myself, Serena is always so positive. She's like, 'You're doing great. You're doing amazing,' so it makes you feel good out there.

"We're just going to go out there every match, just play, have fun and see what happens and the good thing is with doubles is we've had two matches and we're in the semifinals."

Wozniacki will play Lauren Davis in the second round of singles on Thursday while Williams will play Christina McHale.

No. 15 Petra Martic, seeded second, lost 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 to Alize Cornet, who finished 2019 outside the top 50 for the first time in eight years. Cornet sealed the match with three consecutive aces.

"It just happened to be the best time to do my first aces of the match and three in a row, come on!" Cornet said. "I don't even know how that happened."

With files from CBC Sports and Associated Press


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