Rogers Cup: Eugenie Bouchard reaches 3rd round for first time
19-year-old Montrealer Francoise Abanda loses hard-fought match
Canadian Eugenie Bouchard learned from her loss at Wimbledon earlier this month to turn the tables on her opponent. That strategy has her in the third round of the Rogers Cup for the first time in her career.
Bouchard upset 10th-ranked Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-0 on Wednesday in the second round in Montreal just three weeks after the Slovak eliminated her from the Grand Slam tournament in straight sets.
The 22-year-old said she emulated Cibulkova's Wimbledon tactics and used them against her.
"That was my strategy — to be aggressive during her service game, even on her first serve," said Bouchard, who needed just one hour and 14 minutes to beat Cibulkova. "When I put that pressure on her, she made more mistakes and played on the back foot.
"I liked that I was the one controlling the match. At Wimbledon, she was controlling much more. I had to change that just to have a chance."
For the second day in a row, the 42nd-ranked Bouchard upset a higher-ranked opponent.
In the opening round on Tuesday, Bouchard surprised the hometown fans — and her critics — by getting the better of 28th-ranked Lucie Safarova.
"I've been training hard since Wimbledon, trying to improve my game," said Bouchard. "Coming here, having that crowd support, feeling that people believe in me — whether they really do, I don't know — it does give you a boost. I just try to use that in a positive way."
Playing some of her best tennis in months, the 22-year-old made quick work of Cibulkova in the 36-minute first set, twice breaking her opponent's serve.
Bouchard was aggressive and dictated play, while Cibulkova struggled with her service game and accumulated unforced errors.
Playing with confidence, Bouchard was even more dominant in a second set marked by several lengthy rallies.
Fans rose to their feet on two occasions in the set, namely after Bouchard returned two improbable balls in the fifth game to break Cibulkova and go up 5-0.
"She was playing the game I was supposed to play," said Cibulkova. "I felt a little bit down with my energy. I'm having a long year and a long season. It was really hard for me today."
Bouchard will now face 121st-ranked qualifier Kristina Kucova on Thursday evening. The 26-year-old Kucova stunned 8th-ranked Carla Suarez Navarro 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Abanda goes down swinging
Bouchard is the only Canadian on the women's side remaining at the $2.4-million US Rogers Cup after Francoise Abanda was eliminated earlier on Wednesday.
Abanda lost her second-round match 7-6 (2), 7-6 (3) against Ukraine's Elina Svitolina. The 19-year-old, ranked 270th in the world, dropped a nail-biter in front of her hometown fans, pushing both sets to a tiebreak.
"I had a lot of chances to win that second set," said Abanda, who beat 66th-ranked Saisai Zheng in the opening round. "I could have definitely pushed it further. I felt mentally strained when I got to that second set.
"During key moments of the match, I just missed the mark."
Abanda's service game let her down throughout the contest. The 20th-ranked Svitolina broke the Canadian twice in the first set, and another four times in the second.
In the second-set tiebreak, Abanda jumped to a 3-0 lead but lost the next seven points, three of those while on serve.
Svitolina will next face Angelique Kerber, who recorded a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory against Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.
Venus wins easily
After earning a bye in the first round, sixth-ranked Venus Williams breezed through her second-round match, beating Barbora Strycova 6-3, 6-0.
The seven-time Grand Slam champion gave up a mere 10 points in the second set, which she completed in 24 minutes.
Williams takes on Madison Keys next. Keys topped fellow American Madison Brengle 6-4, 6-3.
Earlier in the day, fourth-seed Agnieszka Radwanska downed Monica Niculescu 6-1, 7-5.
Romanian Simona Halep, one of the tournament favourites, beat Daria Gavrilova in straight sets 6-3, 6-2 to set up a meeting with Karolina Pliskova.
The 14th-ranked Pliskova jumped into the third round after her second-round opponent Sara Errani was forced to retire with neck stiffness.
Petra Kvitova beat Germany's Andrea Petkovic 6-2, 6-4, while Daria Kasatkina of Russia shocked Samantha Stosur 7-6(1), 6-3.
Also, Roberta Vinci came from behind to defeat fellow Italian Camila Giorgi 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.