Eugenie Bouchard overcame Alison Van Uytvanck and the gusty, swirling winds of the Tasmanian Islands, defeating the former 6-4, 7-5 to book her place in the quarter finals of the 2016 Hobart International. Bouchard will now play Camila Giorgi, who defeated Nao Hibino in the day’s first match.
Bouchard Wins Titanic First Set in 52 Minutes
Judging by the early exchanges, it was clear that this match would be a titanic affair with many momentum shifts. Striking first, Bouchard opened proceedings with an emphatic break of serve, to which Van Uytvanck answered with a break of her own, regaining parity courtesy of back-to-back double faults from the Canadian.
In the game that followed, the Belgian saved three break points in a lengthy 18-point game before earning her first hold of the match. From there, the pair exchanged a trio of holds before Bouchard made her move again, breaking Van Uytvanck with a screaming forehand passing shot down the line winner. Van Uytvanck, however, was not to be outdone, quickly going up 0-40 in Bouchard's next service game to give herself three chances to recover the early break, but to no avail. The Canadian saved all three break points with some fierce hitting, forcing errors out of her Belgian counterpart en route to consolidating the break.
Now up 5-3, Bouchard was within touching distance of winning the first set but Van Uytvanck hung tough, holding to force the 21-year-old Montrealer to serve out the opening set. It took three attempts but it was a case of third time lucky for Bouchard as she converted her third set point to successfully serve out a titanic opening set, winning it 6-4 in 52 minutes.
Bouchard Comes from a Break Down to Seal the Deal; Defeats Van Uytvanck in Straight Sets
After a short bathroom break, Van Uytvanck returned to the court composed and ready to begin her comeback. Starting with an easy hold at love, Van Uytvanck followed it up with a break of her own, which she would go on to consolidate in order to open up a 3-0 lead.
Fighting off the danger of going down a double break, Bouchard gave her fans something to cheer about, finally getting on the board again four games into the second set. In the game that followed, both women were fighting their hardest, not willing to give the other an inch. Game points and break points came and gone but it was Bouchard who was able to recover the early break before consolidating it to restore parity at three-games-all.
Now beginning to find her range, the Canadian used her lethal combination of power and depth to trouble her Belgian counterpart before breaking once more to go from a break down to a break up in the second set. Now leading 4-3, Bouchard had one foot in the door to the quarterfinals but Van Uytvanck had other ideas. With some fierce hitting of her own, the 21-year-old broke straight back with a clever backhand cross-court winner to level the set at 4-all. Now with the momentum on her side, the Belgian number three saved two break points to edge her nose back in front with a hold for 5-4. Could she clinch the elusive break to force a decider?
Not to be outdone, the former Wimbledon finalist responded with a hold to love to level the second set at 5-all, much to the delight of her very vocal supporters. Now with the momentum in her favour, the Canadian raised her level when it mattered most, breaking at the first time of asking to mount a 6-5 lead. Once there, Bouchard made no mistake, serving out the match in emphatic style with a big cross-court forehand winner, thus sealing a 6-4, 7-5 win over Van Uytvanck.
A Look at the Final Match Statistics
Despite having identical first serve and second serve points won percentages, the biggest difference maker in this match came from the first serve. Behind it, Bouchard was able to win a solid 68% while Van Uytvanck only won a subpar 53%. Despite having a bigger serve, the Belgian didn't mix up the placements of her serve well enough, and the Canadian was able to anticipate the majority of those serves in order to get a deep return off the ground, which would help her get the first strike in the majority of the rallies. Bouchard, on the other hand, wasn't overwhelmingly impressive on her own serve but mixed up her placements well enough to keep Van Uytvanck guessing. On top of this, she returned well too, breaking five times when given twelve opportunities.