Olympic adventure is over for Eugenie Bouchard and Gabriela Dabrowski after doubles defeat

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It wasn't to be for Bouchard and Dabrowski Tuesday, but they enjoyed it quite a bit and played well, too. (Stephanie Myles/opencourt.ca)
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RIO DE JANEIRO – The Olympic adventure is over for Genie Bouchard and Gabriela Dabrowski, but they didn’t go down without a major fight.

The doubles specialist and the singles specialist managed to find a way to be competitive together in Rio, beating a Polish pair in the first round and giving Czechs Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova everything they could handle before falling 6-7 (4), 6-2 6-4 Tuesday.

Here's what it looked like.

Safarova is a Grand Slam champion in doubles and has been ranked as high as No. 4. Strycova has been as high as No. 14 and while the two had only one match together in their careers before this Olympics, they have often been teammates and know each other well.

Still, Dabrowski and Bouchard, supported by a large group of Canadians including three guys from Laval, Que. getting overheating in Canada onesies (more on these guys in a separate post), came close.

The key was an infernally long game at 4-3 in the third set on the Czech’s serve, in which they had several chances to break but couldn’t capitalize. After that, they were swimming upstream.

Dabrowski, who captained the team and gave Bouchard plenty of direction on the court, took on the lion’s share of the blame. “I think Genie was returning really well, and she gave me a lot of chances, a lot of break points. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to capitalize on any one of them,” she said. “I think Barbora stepped up on some of those points and hit some clutch shots, just unfortunate for us.”

There were screams of anguish from the Czechs, some bounced racquets, a whole lot of smiles from Bouchard and most of all, 200 per cent effort from everyone. Strycova had a few spills, and a direct hit that left her with a bit of a cheek burn.

Strycova came out of the doubles match a bit battered and bruised, but the Czechs are in the Olympic doubles quarter-finals. (Stephanie Myles/opencourt.ca)
Strycova came out of the doubles match a bit battered and bruised, but the Czechs are in the Olympic doubles quarter-finals. (Stephanie Myles/opencourt.ca)

Even Safarova, who caught a stomach bug and had to retire from her singles match the previous day, played well – despite not having had anything much to eat for three days.

The result was a lot of frantic, scrambling points that had them all over the court, and sometimes even off the court.

“It was great, especially when we have some of those crazy points. I think the fans find it entertaining but I find it entertaining as well,” Bouchard said. “They came back strong, a little more aggressive, and at the end at least we stayed with them; we tried to be aggressive too. But the two girls played well, at moments very, very well. There were a lot of momentum shifts.”

Both enjoyed their first Olympic experience, and it was clear from their social-media efforts that they had some good times together as well. That can only be good for someone like Bouchard, who has stepped up her game in 2016 in terms of establishing some friendly relations on Tour and clearly enjoyed being in atmosphere where everything didn’t revolve around her.

 

Next up for Bouchard, she said, is just next week’s tournament in Cincinnati before the US Open begins in less than three weeks. She’ll finalize her schedule after talking to coach Nick Saviano.

One problem, though. Bouchard is not directly into the main draw and is not on the qualifying entry list. At this point it would take about eight players pulling out to get her in without a wild card, and she would need a wild card into the qualifying as well. Because of the Olympic tournament, the women’s singles draw is just 48 players instead of its usual 56 – otherwise she would have squeezed in.

She also is not entered into the tournament in New Haven, Conn. the week before the final Grand Slam of the season.

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