Eugenie Bouchard, Madison Keys – Rio 2016 Aug. 6 Results

Canada’s best hope for a medal in women’s tennis advanced on Saturday, August 6th as did one of the tournament favorites for singles.

The Rio 2016 tennis draw for women’s singles started on Saturday. With the first round divided across two days, many of the tournament favorites are still awaiting their opening matches. However, Eugenie Bouchard and Madison Keys were among the big names that advanced on August 6th.

Bouchard appeared to have a very difficult match heading into the first round. The Canadian picked up Sloane Stephens, an American player that Bouchard spoke well of heading into their opening contest:

“I’ve known her since we were 12,” she told Tennis Canada. “She’s playing really well right now so I will just try to play good tennis. It will be a battle for sure. I just want to go out and do as well as I can here.”

Given how poorly the Canadian has played over lengthy stretches of the last couple of seasons, an in-form Stephens did look like a tall order. However, Bouchard had very little trouble in the match, posting a 6-3, 6-3 victory.

The Canadian will likely face Angelique Kerber in the second round, a match-up that has some intrigue as Bouchard did beat Kerber once earlier this season. Furthermore, Bouchard is 3-1 against the German, a player who made the Wimbledon final last month. Despite the difference in rankings between the two players, perhaps the potential second-round match might be an open one.

Madison Keys, in another section of the draw, also advanced. The 21-year old American debuted in the Top 10 earlier this season and she has made some deep runs in numerous tournaments recently. In Rio on Saturday, she took out Danka Kovinic of Montenegro 6-3, 6-3. Keys will next face Kristina Mladenovic in what promises to be a closer match. The French player has also enjoyed some success in 2016 and she should be much more competitive than Kovinic.

Other  players that advanced on Saturday included Heather Watson of Great Britain, the Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Shuai Zheng of China, and Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic. The biggest names that went out of the draw were Agnieszka Radwanska, Ana Ivanovic, and Timea Bacsinzsky. The former lost to Zheng Sasai in a large upset, Ivanovic fell to Carla Suarez-Navarro, while the latter lost to Zheng. American Venus Williams was also eliminated in the first round.

Sunday’s matches will include Serena Williams, the World No. 1 and favorite to win the Olympics. Petra Kvitova is also scheduled for action as is former World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki. Furthermore, Kerber, Svetlana Kuznetsova, and Garbine Muguruza will also open their Olympic campaigns.

Shane Lambert