DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Eugenie Bouchard took another step in her comeback on the WTA Tour by battling to a 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (4) victory over Latvian qualifier Anastasija Sevastova in the first round of the Qatar Open on Sunday.
The 22-year-old Canadian, who reached as high as No. 5 in the rankings in October 2014, the year she made the final of Wimbledon before losing to Petra Kvitova, is now ranked 61st on the WTA Tour.
Bouchard is making a comeback this year after suffering a concussion at the 2015 U.S. Open when she slipped and fell in the locker room and subsequently pulling out of the tournament.
Bouchard, who is now involved in a legal battle with the United States Tennis Association following the incident, will meet either 15th-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine or Czech player Denisa Allertova in the next round.
The Canadian, who accepted a wild card for the tournament, finally won her match after two hours and 28 minutes. She saved nine break points.
“I haven’t played a match for some time, so I am glad to get a good, tough outing in the first round,” said Bouchard, whose last match was a second-round loss to Agnieszka Radwanska in the Australian Open.
“I’m just so grateful to be back on tour after a rough end of last season. I’m just so happy to be doing what I love, to be playing in front of the fans, to enjoy this life.”
The top eight seeded players, including world No. 2 and Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber of Germany, have a bye to the second round.
Karolina Pliskova, seeded 10th, lost rather tamely to Russia’s Margarita Gasparyan 6-1, 6-1 after struggling to get her first serves in during the whole match.
Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, a former top-10 player now ranked 28th, continued her domination of Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova, beating her 6-3, 6-2 in the last match of the day. She is now 4-0 overall against the Russian player.
Croatia’s Donna Vekic brushed aside Omani wildcard Fatma Al Nabhani, winning 6-0, 6-0 in 50 minutes.
While we have your attention...
An increasingly rare commodity, quality independent journalism costs money - though not nearly as much as its absence.
Every article, every day, is our contribution to Defending Truth in South Africa. If you would like to join us on this mission, you could do much worse than support Daily Maverick's quest by becoming a Maverick Insider.
Click here to become a Maverick Insider and get a closer look at the Truth.
Towns near Fukushima are now being plagued by hordes of rampaging radioactive wild boars. Where are Asterix and Obelix when you need them?