Eugenie Bouchard exits in the first round of the U.S. Open

Eugenie Bouchard (File photo). REUTERS/Toby Melville

Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard’s inconsistent season continues as she is out in the first round of the U.S. Open after Czech Republic’s Katerina Siniakova outplayed her in three sets, 6–3, 3–6, 6–2 in two hours and 14 minutes.

“I feel like I didn’t really play well. My opponent played probably really well I think,” Bouchard said during her post-game press conference.

Donning a bright yellow-green dress, Bouchard’s first round match was second in the new grandstand court. She has never played Siniakova before. The Canadian was coming to her first round match with the recent USTA comments about her lack of focus on her game looming over her.

It was a battle early on in the opening set for the Canadian. In the third game, they played seven deuce games with Genie saving three break points before holding. It was a struggle for the 40th rank Canadian, especially on her first serve. She was only putting 49 percent of her first serves in play in the first set.

Siniakova took advantage of Bouchard’s error. In the seventh game, the Czech got the break and went up 5–3 after three consecutive forehand unforced error from the Canadian. She consolidated the break at love in the following game to wrap the first set.

“I’ve never played her before so I didn’t know what to expect but I felt like she’s really going after it and very consistent while doing that. She played better than me today,” said the Canadian about her opponent.

Eugenie Bouchard during her first round match at the U.S. Open. Reuters/Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

However, the 22-year-old Quebec native wasn’t going to go out quietly. In the second set, she got the early break in the fourth game after an incredible backhand winner. Even with down a break, Siniakova kept putting the pressure on the Canadian. In the seventh game, she got up to 40–0 on Bouchard’s service game. But the Canadian showed her resiliency by winning the next four points to hold. Bouchard would end up taking the second set 6–3 even as she continued to struggle to put first serves in.

After a lengthy medical timeout from Bouchard, the two players exchange breaks early in the third set. Down 2–3, Bouchard hit three errors including a double fault to give Siniakova three break points. The Canadian couldn’t get herself out of trouble, this time, with Siniakova capitalizing on her errors to go up a break.

The Czech’s level of play didn’t falter while Bouchard’s play dip after giving the break. Siniakova played sharper, hitting winners, not letting the Canadian get back into the set. The Czech broke Bouchard for the third time in the set to win the third set and close out the match.

In the end, Bouchard didn’t play her best match. Her first serve was missing throughout the match, finishing with only 50 percent of those serves in. Bouchard took pride in her improved first serve coming into the match, but it was absent during critical points. She had four aces but also four double faults. Also, Bouchard hit too many errors with 46 and only 22 winners.

“I’m just working on what I can do to try to become as good as I can and have the results I want but it doesn’t always go your way.”

The first round loss reflects Bouchard’s up and down season so far. However, since recovering from the concussion she suffered in last year’s U.S. Open, the Canadian has improved her results from last season.

Eugenie Bouchard during her first round match at the U.S. Open. Reuters/Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

“I feel like this year I have made strides. [The injury] is something in the past. I feel like I have [got over it],” Bouchard said. “I think this year has been an up and down. I wish it could have been better.”

Bouchard also commented on the recent USTA comments about focusing on the lawsuit instead of putting her attention solely to playing tennis.

“I am 100 percent focus on tennis. I have lawyers who are working on the case. I don’t think about it very often at all.

“It’s not a factor in my life. I just know it’s going on the background. I’m disappointed in what happened and I have to fight for what I think it’s right,” Bouchard said.

According to Bouchard, her goal for the rest of the season is to do well in the last few tournaments of the year. There are a couple of Premiere events in Asia next month. But before flying overseas, Bouchard is set to play in Quebec City at Coupe Banque National on September 12.