Rogers Cup: At home, Eugenie Bouchard works hard for win over Lucie Safarova

Eugenie Bouchard is set to face No. 9-seeded Dominika Cibulkova, a 6-2, 6-2 winner over Mariana Duque-Marino, in a night match.

By: AP | Montreal | Updated: July 27, 2016 1:18 pm
Rogers Cup, Rogers Cup 2016, Rogers Cup Tennis, Tennis Rogers Cup, Eugenie Bouchard Rogers Cup, Eugenie Bouchard Montreal, Montreal Eugenie Bouchard, Tennis News, Tennis Eugenie Bouchard reacts after beating Lucie Safarova, of the Czech Republic, during first round of play at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament in Montreal. (Source: AP)

Eugenie Bouchard reconnected with her hometown fans with an impressive first-round victory at the women’s Rogers Cup on Tuesday.

Coach Nick Saviano said Bouchard was fine as she upset Lucie Safarova 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (3), but struggled through a stomach problem while she and partner Carol Zhao lost in straight sets in doubles.

Bouchard was unable to attend the post-match news conference, so Saviano and Federation Cup captain Sylvain Bruneau appeared instead.

“She came off the court and she was in a lot of discomfort with her stomach,” Saviano said. “We know it’s not serious, but she’s very uncomfortable now.

“The objective is to make sure she has every chance to compete at 100 percent and we’re very confident that will happen.”

Bouchard is set to face No. 9-seeded Dominika Cibulkova, a 6-2, 6-2 winner over Mariana Duque-Marino, in a night match in the second round on Wednesday.

She was the second player to be hit with a similar problem on the day, after third-seeded Garbine Muguruza withdrew with a digestive problem. Saviano said it was not certain if the two cases were linked.

A large crowd at Uniprix Stadium was solidly behind the Quebec native throughout her win over No. 28-ranked Safarova.

They roared as Bouchard came back from a 3-1 deficit in the tiebreaker with six straight points, taking the win on Safarova’s 10th double fault of the match.

Bouchard had been criticized recently mostly to do with losing touch with her home fan base since her spectacular 2014 season when she reached the Wimbledon final and rose to No. 5 in the world.

It did not go over well last week when, after losing her first match in Washington, D.C., she talked about visiting museums in the U.S. capital rather than go home to the “craziness” in Montreal.

Bouchard had a change of heart because she not only headed north right away, but participated in off-court events with fans and ended uncertainty over her Olympic plans by saying she will represent Canada in Rio de Janeiro.

Then she pulled off a thrilling and unexpected win on center court.

It did not go so well for Aleksandra Wozniak, another local favorite, who lost 6-4, 7-6 (4) to Sara Errani, who next plays No. 14-seeded Karolina Pliskova.

A matchup of the Madisons looms as 10th-seeded Madison Keys breezed by Elena Visnina 6-4, 6-0 and will face fellow American Madison Brengle in the second round. Keys has won all three previous matches.

Lucky loser Christina McHale of the U.S. posted a 6-4, 3-0 win over qualifier Zhang Shuai, who retired in the second set. McHale will next face 16th-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who defeated Yulia Putintseva 6-4, 1-6, 7-5.

Andrea Petkovic of Germany downed Alize Cornet of France 7-6 (1), 6-3 to advance to a second-round meeting with 12th seeded Petra Kvitova.

Daria Kasatkina beat Misaki Doi 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 to set up a meeting with 13th-seeded Samantha Stosur, while Monica Niculescu beat Jelena Ostapenko 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 to advance against fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska.

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