Eugenie Bouchard sizzles at Australian Open

Montreal's Eugenie Bouchard needed seven match points to secure a hard-fought 6-2, 7-6 victory over Virginie Razzano of France at the Australian Open on Wednesday.

Vancouver's Pospisil shrugs off back pain to win in four sets

Montreal's Eugenie Bouchard hits a forehand return in Wednesday's 6-2, 7-6 victory over Virginie Razzano at Melbourne Park. (Renee McKay/Getty Images)

Montreal's Eugenie Bouchard needed seven match points to secure a tough win over Virginie Razzano of France, 6-2, 7-6 (12-10) on Wednesday to reach the third round of the Australian Open.

The 30th seed faced a stiff battle from her No. 100 opponent in their first career meeting, with the Canadian winning the first set in 35 minutes but taking nearly 90 minutes to win the second.

Bouchard will now play in the third round of a grand slam for just the second time after reaching that plateau at Wimbledon last summer.

"It was kind of crazy," Bouchard said of the second set, when she needed all of her energy to prevail.

"It became just mental and I just had to fight. I'm happy I pulled through in the end. We had some crazy points."

"She played some really good points, too, on my match points, Bouchard continued. "It was a battle back and forth.

"I felt overall I didn't play as well as I know I can. But even if it's a bit ugly, still fight and try."

Vasek Pospisil of Vancouver, seeded 28th, played through severe back pain to claim a heroic 3-6, 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (11-9), 6-1 defeat of Australian Matthew Ebden.

The Canadian took treatment three times in the second set and at times looked finished, but the 23-year-old fought on and managed to earn the improbable victory.

The back pain has bothered him since the start of the year, forcing him to quit a semifinal in India and pull out of a
tournament in Sydney.

"It's been lingering, I had to hang tough," Pospisil said. "I'm super-thrilled to get through," said Pospisil, who depended on painkillers to get him to the finish after being told by a physiotherapist that he could go on if he wished.

"Midway through the third, I was not feeling very good. I took some tablets and, 30 minutes later, I didn't feel so much."

Pospisil next plays eighth seed Stanislas Wawrinka after the Swiss beat Alejandro Falla 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4.

Bouchard, 19, making her main draw debut in Australia after failing to qualify in 2013, went up on an early break in the opening set against the Frenchwoman and led 5-1. But she lost the break in the seventh game, dropping to 5-2 from a backhand error.

Bouchard then won the set on a Razzano double-fault.

The second set was much more of a struggle as Bouchard battle back from a double break but was unable to close out the victory with the match points in the 10th game against the Razzano serve.

The French player survived on three Bouchard errors to eventually take the set to a tiebreaker. Bouchard was unable to close it out until her seventh opportunity with a cross-court winner.

'I'm expected to win' 

The Canadian, recently named The Canadian Press Female Athlete of the Year, won with four aces, 25 winners and the same number of unforced errors.

"I came into this slam seeded now for the first time," Bouchard said. "So of course, my first few rounds I'm expected to win.

"I always expect myself to do well. I just try to ignore the outside expectations and pressure and really just focus on what I need to do.

"At the end of the day, I really need to perform. I can't really worry about what people say on the outside."

Toronto's Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia opened with a 6-4, 6-3 defeat of Germans Benjamin Becker and Daniel Brands in men's doubles. The eighth-seeded Canadians needed just 65 minutes to win with eight aces.

In women's doubles, however, Sharon Fichman of Toronto and Monica Puig of Puerto Rico lost their opening match. They fell 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 to Spaniards Garbine Muguruza and Arantxa Parra Santonja.


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