Eugenie Bouchard on Tuesday quelled a home threat at the Ladies Championship Gstaad, fighting back to beat Timea Bacsinszky 4-6, 7-6 (7/1), 6-4 for a second-round place.
The 146th-ranked Canadian who played the Wimbledon final four years ago, but has since suffered through season after season of disappointment and a tumbling ranking, spent nearly three hours overcoming two-time Roland Garros semi-finalist Bacsinszky.
The Swiss, who once ranked ninth in the world, missed the entire clay and grass seasons after tearing her right calf muscle during a match warm-up in Rabat last spring.
She has played — and lost — only five matches this season; her ranking stands at 761.
Bouchard exited in the second round at Wimbledon, then switched to clay last week by entering a lower-level event, where she also lost her opening match.
Despite her first-round victory, the 24-year-old is keeping any hopes of turning her career around on an extremely low simmer.
“All the conditions were against me,” Bouchard said. “She is Swiss, playing at home as a former top-10 player on her favorite surface.”
“It was a battle. I can’t compare this match to any [recent] previous ones,” she said. “All I know is I had to battle.”
Bouchard lost the opening set in 44 minutes, despite taking the early lead on a break and was severely tested in the second.
That set featured six breaks of serve, with Bouchard again losing an early break and eventually forced to play a tiebreaker.
Although she did not consider the decider a particularly key factor, Bouchard won it handily to get right back into the fight as light began to fade in the exclusive alpine village populated by both jet-setters and local farmers.
She went up a break in the third set, racing away to 4-1, but was reeled in to 4-3 by the home player.
The Canadian earned a match point from a Bacsinszky double fault while leading 5-3; the Swiss saved it with a service winner.
Bouchard kept up her quest as light faded, earning a second concluding chance and finishing well with a forehand winner against the former tournament semi-finalist.
“I didn’t consider anything a turning point, I was just trying to play better,” Bouchard said. “I didn’t play well last week and practice has not been great this week.”
“I didn’t feel so good, so I just kept trying to play better today,” she added.
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