Tennis

Eugenie Bouchard gets early boot after poor start at Rogers Cup

Canada's Eugenie Bouchard is out of the Rogers Cup after a 6-2, 6-4 first-round loss to Elise Mertens of Belgium on Tuesday.

Maria Sharapova advances, as does Canada's Francoise Abanda

Canada's Eugenie Bouchard was defeated in straight sets 6-2, 6-4 by Elise Mertens of Belgium in first-round play at the Rogers Cup on Tuesday. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press )

Canada's Eugenie Bouchard says she simply "didn't deserve" to win her first-round match at the Rogers Cup on a day where two of three Canadians were eliminated.

Not much went right for Bouchard as she lost 6-2, 6-4 to 15th-ranked Elise Mertens of Belgium in front of her hometown fans on Tuesday.

The 129th-ranked Bouchard, who was bothered by a blister on her toe, lost the match in one hour and 34 minutes as she dropped to 4-11 all time at the Rogers Cup.

Canadian Eugenie Bouchard was defeated in straight sets by 15th ranked Elise Mertens. 1:17

"I didn't start well at all today," said Bouchard, who also lost in the first round at the Rogers Cup last year. "Against a top-20 player you have to be firing on all cylinders and doing everything well. Not a lot went well today for me. My backhand just wasn't there and I missed a lot of first service points. Plus my toe was hurting.

"At the end of the day, I didn't deserve to win this match because I didn't play good enough tennis."

The Westmount, Que., native started the match poorly. She was broken three times and dropped the first five games of the first set.

The 24-year-old showed signs of life though, winning back-to-back games in the first set before losing 6-2. She started the second set by winning her first three games.

Bouchard can't hit level

"I relaxed a little and starting hitting a lot better and moved better," said Bouchard, whose serve was broken five times in the match. "When I do that, I play my best tennis."

Leading 3-0 in the second set, Bouchard called a medical timeout to deal with a blister on her toe that she says has been bothering her for a couple of months now.

When play resumed, Mertens went on to win the next five games on her way to victory.

"I'm on the right path, so I'm not going to let today get me down," said Bouchard, who has not beaten a top-20 player since May 2017. "There were so many things wrong with today. I didn't play at a high enough level."

Canada's Zhao falls, Abanda advances

Carol Zhao of Richmond Hill, Ont., was also bounced from the tournament after losing 6-1, 6-2 to Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands.

In the final match of the day, Montreal's Francoise Abanda became the last Canadian standing when she upset qualifier Kirsten Flipkens (No. 47) of Belgium 6-3, 6-2.

Francoise Abanda advances to 2nd round with straight sets victory over Kirsten Flipkens. 1:02

Playing her first top-50 opponent of the season, Abanda improved to 2-4 all time at the Rogers Cup thanks to her strong service game.

"This is one of the best moments of the year for me," said Abanda. "I had the right mindset going in. She's an experienced player, older, and I tried to stay solid every point."

The 21-year-old Abanda (No. 191) will now face third seed Sloane Stephens in the second round on Wednesday.

"I've been watching Sloane play for a few years now," said Abanda. "It's gonna be a huge challenge but the pressure's on her."

Also in the evening session, wild card Victoria Azarenka defeated France's Kristina Mladenovic 6-0, 6-1 in less than an hour while world No. 6 Caroline Garcia avoided an upset as she defeated Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.

Sharapova's successful restart

Earlier Tuesday, Maria Sharapova advanced to the second round with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over qualifier Sesil Karatantcheva of Bulgaria in a match that began Monday evening.

Play resumed with Sharapova leading 4-1 in the first set after heavy rain and lightning forced organizers to suspend the match late Monday following a three-hour rain delay.

Maria Sharapova beats Sesil Karatantcheva in straight sets 6-1, 6-2. 1:05

"The weather is not something anyone can control," said Sharapova. "The players want to play. The fans want to watch tennis. At the end of the day, I think everybody understands it's for a player's safety. A tournament is only better when you have healthy players competing."

Sharapova, making her first Rogers Cup appearance since 2014, picked up exactly where she left off on Monday. She won six straight games after the restart and needed only 36 minutes to win the second set.

Britain's Johanna Konta won 6-7 (6), 6-1, 6-2 against 11th seed Jelena Ostapenko, who came crashing out in the first round at the Rogers Cup for the third straight year.

In the two second-round matches, world No. 8 Petra Kvitova outlasted Anett Kontaveit of Estonia 6-3, 6-4 while 10th seed Julia Goerges of Germany came from behind to beat qualifier Lucie Safarova 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.

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