Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Tennis Star Eugenie Bouchard Enjoying the New York Spotlight

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Tennis Star Eugenie Bouchard Enjoying the New York Spotlight

Article excerpt

Bouchard becoming a headliner in New York

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NEW YORK, N.Y. - After her recent starring role on Centre Court at Wimbledon, Canadian Eugenie Bouchard hopes to become a headliner in New York.

Bouchard and men's fifth seed Milos Raonic are Canada's last representatives in the main singles draw at the U.S. Open.

The 20-year-old Bouchard, the only woman to have reached the semifinals or better of the three Grand Slams played this season, has a third-round date Saturday night with Czech veteran Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, the 30th seed whom Bouchard has defeated in previous meetings in Osaka last autumn and in Nurnberg on clay this spring.

Bouchard's love of the spotlight seems to be a perfect fit for the rowdy New York crowd, which has been known to make its loves and hates known in direct fashion through only-in-Gotham screams of encouragement at any time in a match.

The seventh-seeded native of Westmount, Que., got a taste of that atmosphere when she beat Romanian Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-4 in the second round Thursday.

The cultural opposite of the sedate and polite Wimbledon crowds, New York's beer-fuelled masses never hesitate to make their presence known to players.

That's more than fine with Bouchard.

"I heard some (shouts) vaguely," she said of her opening match on the big stage at Arthur Ashe stadium. "I really try to block it out and zone in.

"I just felt there was noise all the time. The changeovers were like a party scene on the court, the loud music, the fans. It was definitely an entertainment type of experience.

"I think that's really cool for the fans to get into it. But I definitely felt the support out there. It's really cool playing in such a huge stadium. It's like nothing else, I guess."

Bouchard said that even late starting times and post-midnight finishes are all a part of the particular ambience.

"It's part of the U.S. Open experience. You don't get there at the French Open or Wimbledon," she said. …

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