Eugenie Bouchard Eyeing a Good Run at 2017 Australian Open

Canadian Eugenie Bouchard made a name for herself at the Australian Open three years ago. Now she’s looking to re-establish herself as a top pro.

Eugenie Bouchard could be in for a resurgent season. The Canadian ended 2016 with loss after loss against low-ranked players, however the start to her 2017 season has been sharp. Bouchard is into the third round of the Australian Open in a section of the women’s draw where anyone can be hoping to make the Melbourne Park quarters.

Bouchard has two wins to open her Australian Open, one coming against Louisa Chirico and another against Shuai Peng. Both victories were earned in straight sets and both had to be ones that her fans will find convincing for different reasons. Against Chirico, Bouchard played an intelligent match that put the onus on her opponent to prove she belonged, something the American failed to do. Against Peng, Bouchard faced some pressure in a tight first set but managed to pull through. The Canadian now heads into a third-round coin toss against Coco Vandeweghe.

Vandeweghe may certainly prove to be a very tough opponent. She has enjoyed her best success in majors on grass with two middle-round runs at Wimbledon the last two seasons. But outside of the All England Club, Vandeweghe hasn’t done anything of note in a major yet. If she should best Bouchard on Friday then it would mark the American’s first fourth-round appearance in any Grand Slam besides Wimbledon.

However, Bouchard is entering the match as a mild favorite (2/3 Marathon Bet). Her best tennis would in fact have to be considered better than Vandeweghe’s. The Canadian’s live ranking is already showing signs of improvement with her recent form. She is nearing the top 40 again and, in a section of the draw that looks open, Bouchard might make the semifinals. That would require outlasting both Angelique Kerber and Garbine Muguruza, but Kerber hasn’t looked great to start the season while Muguruza’s playing level isn’t clear.

If Bouchard can defeat Vandeweghe then it would be a noteworthy win. Bouchard failed to make the fourth round of any Grand Slam last season. Furthermore, she has just one fourth-round appearance in a major in her last seven appearances. There seems to be some enthusiasm with Bouchard right now that hasn’t always been there since 2014. A win against Vandeweghe and a very attractive match between Bouchard and Kerber may develop, one that could be a statement match for the former.

Shane Lambert