Ana ousted by Bouchard

Ana ousted by Bouchard

Ana missed a great chance to reach her first major’s semi-final in six years as she was beaten 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 by Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. The 14th seed was unable to reproduce her stunning performances from earlier in the week, losing after two hours and 24 minutes, but she will carry away a lot of positives for the rest of the season.
 
The 19-year-old Canadian rising star was appearing in her first quarter-final at a Grand Slam but she showed no signs whatsoever of nerves during the opening set.

Things might have turned out differently if Ana would have managed to break Bouchard in the third game of the match, but she couldn’t capitalize either of her two break points. Already from this moment, frustration began to take the upper hand in Ana’s body language, but she was still the first to enforce a breakthrough, breaking Bouchard in the seventh game.
 
Bouchard however didn’t let Ana enjoy her lead for a very long time. She constantly returned at a very high level and aimed her groundstrokes close to the baseline, not allowing Ana to step into the court and discharge her trusted forehand. The Canadian broke back in the next game, but as more breaks were traded in games nine, ten and eleven; it was Ana who had the chance to close out the set. This time, the 26-year-old took a 40-0 lead and clinched the set on the second occasion.
 
Ana looked a bit calmer once she had the first set under her belt, but she was still too tentative during the rallies. She let Bouchard swing with both her forehand and backhand and was broken in the fourth game of the set.
 
The former world No.1 had already been playing with a taping on her right thigh during her earlier matches in Melbourne, but today, the sequence of long matches began to take its toll. At 3-4 – but back on serve – Ana had to call for the trainer and she went into the locker room for off-court treatment. The 14th seed was broken to love when play resumed.
 
Again, Ana managed to level the scoreline at 5-5, converting her second break point as Bouchard was serving for the set. Unfortunately, a very sloppy service game including two double faults while trailing 5-6 proved fatal for Ana and she surrendered the second set 5-7.
 
Bouchard, loudly encouraged by the ‘Genie’s army’, now really took command of the match and she immediately piled pressure on Ana’s serve in the decider. Ana fought back from being 15-40 down in the second game to eventually hold serve, but the 26-year-old could not prevent the Canadian from breaking two games later.
 
The teenager didn’t falter while being on the verge of entering the last four and broke Ana for a second time while serving to stay in the match. She sealed victory with a forehand winner – to end at 47 winners throughout the match – and beat Ana for a second time in as many meetings.

“She played really well, especially in that third set. It was a very tough match,” said Ana.
 
“I felt, you know I was emotionally a little bit flat. I was lacking a little bit aggressiveness that I had in my previous matches.
           
 
“But she's tough opponent and she's been playing really well.”

By Joeri Moerman