In her second round match of the Australian Open, Eugenie Bouchard had a tricky second round match against Shuai Peng. The Chinese came from pulling an upset over the 23rd seed, Daria Kasatkina in the first round while Bouchard scored an easy win over Louisa Chirico in her debut match.
The third match in Hisense Arena saw a grueling first set where the Canadian seemed to have everything under control until Peng came back into the set. A dramatic tiebreak was needed in order to decide this first set, and it was Bouchard who prevailed. After improving her tennis, Peng was not able to do it in the second as she got broken early. The Canadian had three match points on her serve but Peng, once again, threatened to come back as she broke the Canadian. However, Bouchard remained calm and broke in the following game to take the match 7-6(5), 6-2 in one hour and twenty-nine minutes.
Peng breaks to put Bouchard under pressure and force a tiebreak, but the Canadian overcame the challenge
It was an ideal start for the Canadian who quickly got three break points, eventually and even if Peng saved those break points, Bouchard broke. On her serve, the break was consolidated with a hold to love and lead 2-0. Back on serve, Peng improved her accuracy and was able to get on the scoreboard after holding her serve. Still, a break down Peng began to play more aggressively this time not letting Bouchard dictate the points, but despite playing more defensively this game, the Canadian stayed cool in the toughest moments and held to lead 3-1,
An improvement in her serve helped Peng to cruise easily and get a hold to love. However, breaking Bouchard was going to be a hard task for Peng, especially since the Canadian was taking the ball early, giving her the chance to control the point. Another game of serve without problems for the Canadian put her up 4-2. But the Chinese was starting to find her pace in this match as the rallies between both players started to get lengthier. In a solid game of tennis, Peng was able to hold to remain only a break down.
An improved Peng quickly got herself three break points. A powerful forehand that Bouchard hit at the net put the Chinese back in the set to level things at 4-4. Stepping more on the court, the Chinese wasn’t holding down as her groundstrokes got more powerful. Peng sealed the hold with an ace to put herself ahead of the Canadian for the first time in the match and lead 5-4. Now it was Bouchard who had to serve to stay in the set but the Canadian didn’t show any weakness as she fired up two aces in a row to get a perfect hold to love and equalize to 5-5.
Peng seemed all ready to secure the tiebreak as she had opportunities to win her game, but some aggressive shots from Bouchard and a double fault forced the game to a deuce. The Chinese overcame the wasted opportunity and was able to hold her nerve and serve the game to lead 6-5. After throwing her racquet out of frustration at the end of the last point, the Canadian maintained her composure to force the set to be decided in a tiebreak.
The Chinese fired up an ace to start the tiebreak. Bouchard was able to win her first point on her serve, but Peng backfired and got the first mini-break to lead 2-1. However, the Canadian got it back immediately after a wide backhand from Peng. Things turned when Peng hit her third double fault to hand a mini break to Bouchard who stayed on the lead after an impressive running forehand to be up 4-2. After a double fault, Peng had another chance to go ahead in this tiebreak with her serve, she went on to win one and tie the scoreboard but an unforced error once again gave the advantage to the Canadian who now could take the set on her serve. On her serve, Bouchard got herself two match points, and even if she wasted one of them she was able to convert the second and take the opening set.
Bouchard in full control as Peng drops her level
After winning the first set, Bouchard was the first one to be in trouble as she faced a break point, but the Canadian saved it to eventually hold her serve and lead 1-0. A solid game from the Chinese leveled the scoreboard to 1-1. In her second game of serve in the set, Bouchard wasn’t willing to face another break point and she made a strong statement by holding her serve to love. Now it was Bouchard who had the chance to break and get ahead in the set, the Canadian hit a short forehand that Peng hit long to strike first and lead 3-1. This time Bouchard didn’t give Peng a chance to break back like in the first set as the Canadian easily held her serve to consolidate the break and lead 4-1.
In total control of the match, Bouchard got two break points, hitting a forehand winner to lead 5-1 and serve for the match. Unlike in the first set, Bouchard wasn’t willing to concede a point as she trailed with a 40-0 lead, giving her three match points. Peng who had dropped her level from the first set, threaded Bouchard’s easy hold after saving those match points with three winners to force a deuce. It only got more complicated as the Chinese turned things to get a break point, a powerful forehand that Bouchard was unable to return gave Peng one break back. After not being able to serve the match on her serve, Bouchard got another chance as she got two match points. This time, Bouchard didn’t waste the opportunity firing up a fast return to end the match.
Next to Bouchard
In the third round, Eugenie Bouchard will face Coco Vandeweghe. As for the American, they have only played each other once in 2015 at Indian Wells where the Canadian cruised with the win in straight sets.