Canadian Eugenie Bouchard slumped to another early exit on Wednesday, beaten in her first match in the WTA Charleston tournament by American Lauren Davis.
Davis, ranked 66th in the world, needed just 67 minutes to subdue the world No. 7 6-3, 6-1 and reach the third round.
Bouchard was the top seed in the US$731,000 tournament on green clay, accepting a late wild-card invitation in hopes of honing her game after falling in her first match at Miami.
Instead, she endured a third opening-match defeat of the season, after also dropping her first match in Antwerp.
She also pulled out of Dubai and Monterrey with a right-forearm injury.
“I obviously hate losing, but I’m not going to be too hard on myself,” Bouchard said.
“I know I’ve not been feeling like myself on the court, so it’s just a matter of taking some time now, not playing a tournament and just taking some time to train and get back to feeling like myself on the court,” she said.
“I definitely felt a little bit slow today, overpowered, which is never usually the case. Usually I’m the one who’s dominating. So it was definitely just not good — whatever happened was just not good,” she added.
Bouchard’s status for Canada’s upcoming FedCup World Group playoff tie with Romania was unclear after Tennis Canada on Wednesday named just three players — Francoise Abanda, Sharon Fichman and Gabriela Dabrowski — in its squad.
Bouchard could still be added, but even though she would bring some star power to the tie, it does not seem as though Bouchard would bring the form that saw her reach at least the semi-finals of the first three Grand Slams of last year — becoming Canada’s first Grand Slam singles finalist at Wimbledon with her runner-up finish to Petra Kvitova.
The tournament also lost second-seeded Russian Ekaterina Makarova on Wednesday.
Makarova held on for a gritty 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 win over China’s Zhang Shuai, but hours later, she pulled out of the tournament, complaining of a gastrointestinal illness.
It was a disappointing end to her first tournament since rising from ninth to eighth in the world rankings on Monday.
Bouchard and Makarova were the only top-10 players in the draw.
Davis, 21, had lost her only prior meeting with Bouchard, but was quick to take control.
She won the last 11 games of the contest, breaking Bouchard twice in the final set for the victory.
The American used 18 winners with just five unforced errors to secure the second victory of her career over a top-10 player.
“I knew to beat her I’d have to be fearless,” Davis said. “I saw this as a great opportunity.”
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