Calm Bouchard downs Karman

The Indian squanders chances aplenty in the second set

September 15, 2022 01:15 am | Updated 01:15 am IST

The full range: Bouchard was solid in the first set and wobbled for much of the second before closing it.

The full range: Bouchard was solid in the first set and wobbled for much of the second before closing it. | Photo Credit: R. Ravindran

Eugenie Bouchard was calm, and organised when it mattered, as she beat home favourite Karman Thandi 6-2, 7-6(2) to enter the quarterfinals of the WTA Chennai Open at the SDAT Tennis Stadium here on Wednesday.

Bouchard played a solid first set, wobbled for much of the second even as Karman lifted her game, before readjusting her technique while visibly tiring and “sweating out of her shoes,” to get past the finish line.

The Canadian’s start was smart and clean, with the right amount of weight, depth and power on her shots. Karman didn’t hold the cards close to her chest, trying to run around backhands and revealing which her favoured wing was.

Bouchard was on to it in a flash, pounding the Indian’s backhand to go 4-0 up. With too much pressure on the forehand, Karman went for the outrageous often. The percentages caught up and errors flew from the forehand side as well.

Vicious serve

Karman’s height advantage meant that she could land a few big serves. But whenever she did, Bouchard was up to the task, returning everything in sight. The Canadian served out the set 6-2, with the last point a vicious kick-served ace.

Karman took a break, refreshed and emerged with new clothing. Bouchard shadow-practised on court, perhaps to avoid a disruption to her rhythm. But a certain shakiness did creep in, as she fell behind in each of her first three service games, before being broken off the last when she botched two forehands.

The Indian’s serve was equally erratic but she did admirably well to drag herself out of tricky positions by uncorking her fierce forehand. The hold to 5-2 was, however, clean, finished off by two exquisite one-two punches.

With the crowd firmly in her corner — though it was also guilty, at times, of forgetting tennis etiquette by screaming in the middle of rallies — Karman was in prime position at 5-3 to level the match. But she fluffed two set points and was broken.

The net-cord put paid to her hopes on one of those, taking the ball out off a perfectly executed inside-out forehand. Bouchard nonchalantly raised her level and held to 5-5 before bringing up two break points. But Karman hung on, saving both. The contest inevitably slipped into a tie-break, but once there, Karman didn’t land a single first-serve and Bouchard wasn’t one to miss out.

Other results (round-of-16): Singles: Rebecca Marino (Can) bt Katarzyna Kawa (Pol) 7-5, 6-3; Linda Fruhvirtova (Cze) bt Rebecca Peterson (Swe) 6-4, 6-2; Nao Hibino (Jpn) bt Qiang Wang (Chn) 6-2, 6-3.

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