While it certainly was not the ending Eugenie Bouchard was hoping for at the 2014 US Open, it was one we could see coming to fruition for some time. Struggling with both her form and physical condition heading into the final major of the season, it was always going to be matter of whether or not the No. 7 seed had enough gas left in the tank to fight her way through to a fourth consecutive appearance in a Grand Slam semi-final.
Unfortunately for the young Canadian, the needle hit empty on Monday afternoon in New York and she simply had nothing left to give in falling 7-6(2), 6-4 to Ekaterina Makarova in the fourth round. After fighting her way through a pair of tough matches during the evening session over at Arthur Ashe Stadium in rounds two and three, Bouchard had clearly lost more than little zip on her groundstrokes and continued to make far too many unforced errors.
A combination which is rather difficult to overcome at the best of times but nearly impossible when a player is in the sort of condition the Montreal native was in over at Louis Armstrong Stadium. While Bouchard was clearly struggling with the sweltering heat, taking a six minute medical timeout midway through set number two, she still managed to hold her own but was nowhere good enough to deal with the hard-hitting Russian.
It was certainly a disappointing end for the new “it” girl of women’s tennis but Bouchard has absolutely no reason to hang her head for the performance she delivered in New York. With her recent level of play being what was, no one was giving her much of a chance coming into the Open and yet she survived as long as any other player seeded inside the top eight that is not named Serena Williams.
The kid definitely has room to grow as a player but the strides she has made over the last calendar year are simply staggering and many seem to be forgetting that little tidbit of late. At the age twenty, the sky appears to be the limit for Bouchard and the fight she displayed over this last week says a lot about her character.
Again, be it because of exhaustion, injuries, nerves, poor play or a combination of all of those things, the three-time Grand Slam semi-finalist continues to show her willingness to battle…something which cannot be said about many a player currently on the WTA Tour. At this stage of the game, she needs time to rest and let her body recover, followed by some serious time on the practice court to address the shortcomings in her game.
If she can accomplish that and add another wrinkle or two into her arsenal along the way, 2015 could prove to be an even more rewarding year for one Eugenie Bouchard.