Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Rising Canadian Star Eugenie Bouchard Wins Opening Match at Rogers Cup

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Rising Canadian Star Eugenie Bouchard Wins Opening Match at Rogers Cup

Article excerpt

Canadian Eugenie Bouchard wins at Rogers Cup


TORONTO - A large banner featuring Serena Williams hangs prominently on the side of the Rexall Centre stadium for this week's Rogers Cup.

The north side of the stadium may belong to the top-seeded American, but the east side is reserved for one of the rising stars of the women's tour. Eugenie Bouchard cuts a steely pose on her banner, with fist clenched and a look of intensity that appears to go against the grain of the soft-spoken Canadian.

Bouchard is being given her share of the spotlight at this US$2.369-million tournament. On Tuesday night, she showed that she's ready.

The 19-year-old from Montreal was in fine form for her first-round singles match, posting a tidy 6-3, 6-1 over Alisa Kleybanova. Bouchard mixed up her effective ground strokes with some slick cut shots that left her Russian opponent stymied.

There were more service breaks than holds early in the 79-minute match, which forced the Canadian to adjust her style.

"I just decided to go for it and started to play aggressive," Bouchard said. "That definitely helped me."

It has been a busy week for the 2012 Wimbledon junior champion. Bouchard teamed with Monica Seles for an exhibition against the Williams sisters and dropped her first-round doubles match with partner Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium.

Bouchard battled some early nerves when she appeared on centre court for her opening singles match Tuesday but quickly settled in. The 62nd-ranked wild-card entry looked smooth and quite comfortable for someone in her first full season on the pro circuit.

"Yeah, I am relaxed," she said. "It's fun. It's just fun being home where people know you a bit more. But besides that I know I need to stay focused on what I need to do or else I will lose my concentration.

"So I put pressure on myself and that's really all I think about -- my own expectations."

Bouchard has had some big moments this year. She posted a third-round victory over U.S. Open winner Samantha Stosur last April at the Family Circle Cup and upset Ana Ivanovic to reach the third round at Wimbledon.

She'll have her work cut out for her in the second round on Wednesday. Bouchard is scheduled to meet defending champion and No. 6 seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic.

"Yeah, time to take the defending champ down," she said with a smile. "Obviously she's a great player. She's won a (grand slam tournament). But you know, I'm just really excited I will play at home on centre court in front of the crowd. It's always so fun for me.

"I'm going to try my best and we'll see what happens."

Kleybanova currently holds the No. 599 position in the world rankings. The former top-20 player is a cancer survivor who was playing her first WTA Tour match in over a year.

"I was pretty excited to go out there," she said. "I love playing on stadium court and being in front of the crowd. …

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