Eugenie Bouchard continues her comeback as she faces the Czech Republic's Denisa Allertova In the second round of the Qatar Total Open in Doha.
How they got here
Bouchard, playing in her first tournament since a second round loss to Agnieszka Radwanska at the Australian Open, accepted a wild card into the event, rallying from a set down and 5-2 down in the third set of her first round match against Latvian qualifier Anastasija Sevastova, saving two match points en route to a 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(4) first round win.
Allertova recorded a fine win in her first round, defeating 15th seed and Dubai semifinalist Elina Svitolina 7-5, 6-4 to advance to this matchup with Bouchard.
Bouchard and Allertová have never played at any level before.
What to expect
Bouchard is in an interesting spot at the moment. With her ranking dropping down to 61st with her lack of results in recent times, any win at an event such as this (Doha is a Premier 5 event, the biggest events on tour outside of the four majors) is vitally important to rebuild her ranking. She looked awful against Sevastova. Although some of that can be attributed to rust due to the llong layoff following the loss to Radwanska in Melbourne. She has made a final on hard courts this year, reaching the championship match in Hobart, losing to Frenchwoman Alize Cornet, showing that some of her previous form may be starting to come back.
Allertova, coincidentally ranked directly behind Bouchard at 62nd in the world, is not totally inexperienced in big events as she reached the final last fall in Guangzhou, upsetting Sara Errani and Simona Halep the previous two rounds prior to the title match, where she got blown out by Jelena Jankovic, winning just two games. She also took part in the Czech Republic's fourth Fed Cup title in five years after her Guangzhou finals appearance. She's tall, but lacks the movement of Bouchard. The Canadian can call on her toughness and guts in pulling out the Sevastova match, but her form will need to pick up if she's to get by Allertovs.
Bouchard in 2 sets. As previously discussed, Bouchard did not play well against Sevastova, but with a match under her belt and back in tournament conditions, her level should improve. Allertova definitely has the game to beat Bouchard and her wins over Errani and Halep in Guangzhou proved she can string together consecutive wins over big-time opponents, but Bouchard recognizes this is a break draw to play the Czech instead of the in-form Svitolina. Time will tell if she can return to her previous heights, but she should be able to play well enough to defeat Allertová and advance to the third round.