Canada's Bouchard Takes Another Step Forward With Wuhan Open Run

As well as Eugenie Bouchard had played during the 2014 Wuhan Open, today’s finale against Petra Kvitova was always going to be entirely different animal. While the young Canadian looked awfully impressive in deposing of Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets in the semi-finals, the 2014 Wimbledon champ came into this one playing at a very high level.

As much as all of Canada and many a tennis fan across the world would love to see Bouchard take that next step in her development against the likes Kvitova, it is simply not that easy. As of this moment, she is the superior player and just an awful matchup for the Montreal native.

There are those who will surely point to today’s 6-3, 6-4 loss as nothing more than a disappointing finish to what was a solid bounce back performance for the fan favourite but in reality it was anything but. After being absolutely ripped to shreds by Kvitova during this year’s finale at the All England Club, Bouchard looked to be far more comfortable on court against the hard-hitting Czech.

She was in the vast majority points and served fairly well but her second serve remains a major weakness. However, that was never going to be something that would change overnight. The Canadian No. 1 still had no answer for the twenty-four-year-old’s serve out wide on the ad court and did not see her first break point of the match until midway through the second set.

With that said, unlike their match at Wimbledon, Kvitova was forced to work in order to take home her third title of the season. Bouchard clearly needs to make adjustments in order to deal with the lefty’s big serve and her overall power game but let’s not forget that this kid is still only twenty years of age and started the 2014 WTA Calendar year as the thirty-second ranked player in the world.

Her appearance in today’s final of the 2014 Wuhan Open will allow her to match her career-high ranking of No. 7, which she achieved following her surprising run through the French Open and Wimbledon, and looks as though she will qualify for the WTA Finals in Singapore to close out the season in late October.  Not too shabby for a player that absolutely no one had on their radar screen to have a breakout year on tour in 2014.

Bouchard is well ahead of schedule in her development and frankly no one should be surprised to see her fall to a player the quality of Kvitova and especially not during the latter part of tournaments. She may not be everyone’s cup of tea but one could make a strong argument that next to Serena Williams, the two-time Grand Slam winner is currently the premier player on tour.

While “Genie” has had some missteps along the way, it is not as though she has gone out and lost to players who have no business beating her. Yes she fell flat on her face against Shelby Rogers at the Rogers Cup but outside of that, the three-time slam semi-finalist has generally dropped matches to other quality players on tour or the best of the best.

Perhaps the time has come for everyone to take a step back and put a little perspective on just what this young lady has accomplished over the last nine months. Eugenie Bouchard has enjoyed one heck of year on the WTA Tour in 2014 and she has only started to scratch the surface on what she can accomplish.