After an impressive win on Monday over former Madrid champion Maria Sharapova, Eugenie Bouchard was back on court to face another tough challenge as she had to play Angelique Kerber. The German had a fantastic season last year where she became world number one and won two majors, however, this season has been the opposite for Kerber. Both players were in similar instances at the start of the year as they struggled to gather wins, but this time Bouchard comes inspired after her second round win.
In an unstable match, Bouchard prevailed to take the opening set and then dominated the second set until Kerber was forced to retire when she was down 0-5 due to a hamstring injury. It only took 59 minutes for Bouchard to defeat the top seed 6-3. 5-0. Svetlana Kuznetsova will be Bouchard's next opponent in the quarterfinals of the Mutua Madrid Open.
Bouchard takes the battle of the breaks
The German struck first as she put the right amount of pressure on Bouchard’s serve to get the unforced error from her opponent. The Canadian was forced to save her serve multiple times but after three break points opportunities, the German claimed the first break of the match to lead 1-0. After a shaky start, Bouchard began to take more risks that eventually worked for her to get the break back and level the scoreboard to 1-1.
But the battle of breaks was not over as Kerber regained the lead after hitting an unreachable backhand to go up 2-1. Making good use of her offensive game, the Canadian started to become the aggressor to keep Kerber off balance, this style rewarded Bouchard as she broke back to equalize the scoreboard. Unlike her past two games of serves, the Canadian kept the offensive strategy in order to be the first to hold her serve and lead 3-2.
With the momentum on her side, Bouchard converted another break after Kerber double-faulted to put the Canadian back on the lead. Despite being in a comfortable position the Canadian struggled with her serve, piling up errors to give Kerber two break points. Just like in the previous game the break was awarded after a double fault.
Although the German seemed to be building up a comeback, her expectations didn’t last long as once again she granted her serve and put the pressure on Bouchard's racquet who now had to serve for the set. The Canadian didn't show sign of nerves as a backhand winner created a set point opportunity that she consolidated after a backhand error from Kerber.
Kerber retires due to a hamstring injury
The trend of breaks didn’t stop in the second set as Kerber was broken right at the start. The Canadian stopped the trend and consolidated the break with a hold of her serve to lead 2-0. Bouchard was able to throw Kerber off balance with her deep returns and powerful groundstrokes that helped her get two break points that she would later confirm with a crosscourt forehand winner. The solid play from Bouchard carried on as she held comfortably to lead 4-0.
With her confidence running low, Kerber double-faulted to give Bouchard break point. The Canadian would break after a return winner but all eyes were on the German who seemed to be limping after hitting the serve. After a short talk with the trainer, Kerber, who could barely walk, decided to retire from the match giving Bouchard her pass to the quarterfinals after 59 minutes.
Next for Bouchard: Svetlana Kuznetsova
In the quarterfinal, Bouchard will face another tough test as she plays Svetlana Kuznetsova. This will be their third meeting, the Russian having won all their previous encounters, both dated in 2014. One of those matches was also set in a quarterfinal on clay at the Estoril Open where Kuznetsova prevailed 6-4, 6-1.