With a resounding 6-2, 6-2 victory over a tough opponent, Eugenie Bouchard is into the second round at the French Open

The Canadian looked a little stunned after a routine first-round win over Laura SIegemund in Paris. (Stephanie Myles/

PARIS – Even with Genie Bouchard’s struggles over the last 18 months she still – whether by draw fortune, vestigial marquee value, good timing or upset-riddled draws – has gotten premium court assignments.

The 22-year-old Canadian has played on Rod Laver Arena in Australia, the stadium court at Indian Wells for all three of her matches this year, the Campo Centrale in Rome, and on and on.

So trekking all the way out to Court 16 for a 9 a.m. warmup Tuesday morning, followed by a first-round match on the same court that played to an understandably overflow crowd, had to be a culture shock.

Until the last few months, opponent Laura Siegemund of Germany would have been thrilled to play on that court after being mired in tennis’ minor leagues for most of her 10-year career. And yet, it was Siegemund who flinched, badly, in her first big-time appearance since reaching the final of her hometown event in Stuttgart, Germany last month as a qualifier vaulted her into the top 40.

Bouchard won surprisingly easily, 6-2, 6-2, advancing to the second round to face No. 8 seed Timea Bascinszky of Switzerland.

Here's how it looked.

If the match was somewhat of a toss-up going in, with Siegemund the higher-ranked, the more in-form and by far the more creative of the two on clay – but with Bouchard having more big-league experience – the result was all the more shocking given the fact that the 22-year-old Canadian had struggled with a left wrist issue in the days leading up to the match.

She came out for the morning warmup without any tape on the wrist, unlike in her practices the previous few days. And being invisible around Roland Garros in recent days because of indoor practices made necessary by the bad weather kept the wrapped wrist, well, under wraps.

Certainly Siegemund hadn’t gotten wind of it; if anything, she directed more shots to Bouchard’s forehand than her backhand.

On this day, the rising German was no match for the lower-ranked Bouchard, who defeated her 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the second round in Paris. (Stephanie Myles/
On this day, the rising German was no match for the lower-ranked Bouchard, who defeated her 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the second round in Paris. (Stephanie Myles/

The Canadian downplayed it afterwards, as you would expect. No point in giving Bascinszky a target to aim at when they meet in the second round.

“I felt something, not painful at all, just a little, so in practice we put a little bit of tape and it helped a lot. I avoided hitting two-handed backhands for about two days. But I played my match today without tape, and I didn’t feel anything. So for me, it’s 100 per cent and it was just a little thing,” Bouchard said. “In the warmup it went well. I put in a lot of effort, got treatment so it would be 100 per cent. I did the right things, and now it feels good.”

If you like round numbers, the victory was No. 200 of Bouchard’s professional career (versus 122 losses). And it pretty much cements her presence at the Summer Olympics in Rio.

“I knew that she likes to mix it up a lot so I was ready for that (the copious drop shots early), but at the beginning the first few still surprised me a bit,” Bouchard said. “I felt I did much better a couple games into the match.”

The first two drop shots from Siegemund worked, but the tactic as a whole didn’t work nearly often enough. Bouchard began anticipating it; once she got there with more time to spare, she was able to do more than just get the ball back into play. She also handled Siegemund’s slice well, and she had no problems with her fairly pedestrian serve.

Bouchard’s forehand errors hurt her early on. But she got that issue resolved, as well.

For those on Bouchard serve match, she didn’t double-fault once during the match. She didn’t have any aces either, but with an 88 per cent success rate when she got her first serve in, she didn’t need them.
Conversely, Siegemund had six double faults – and they hurt. Two came when she was serving down 2-5 in the first set, including on the set point that she just handed to her Canadian opponent.

After that first set, Siegemund took a long bathroom break – made even longer by the fact that it’s a loooong way from Court 16 to the locker room underneath Court Suzanne Lenglen. During the break, Bouchard sat in her chair and when play resumed on her serve, she was slow to get going and struggled to find a first serve.

The result was a break of serve (on Siegemund’s only break point of the match), and it seemed to be on.
But Bouchard nipped the comeback in the bud, quickly breaking back to even it at 2-2 after multiple previous chances in the game resulted in forehands landing right in the net.

Then she broke (another double fault from Siegemund helped). And then, with Siegemund down 2-5 and scrambling to stay in the match, Bouchard broke her again (with yet another double-fault from Siegemund).

“I felt I was very focused throughout the whole match. I let up a little bit at the beginning of the second set, but was able to regain my concentration right away,” she said. “Yeah, never let up, even at the end of the match. So I think it was very good, focused effort from me today.”

There is no on-court coaching in Grand Slams but coaching mentor Nick Saviano, seated in the front row near one baseline, was a constant, encouraging presence. The Canadian kept her cool throughout, and however her wrist was feeling, she didn’t shy away from hitting the two-handed backhand.

If there perhaps wasn’t the same ferocity to it as there usually is, she did unleash a few at the right times. Against Siegemund, it was more than good enough.

“It’s funny. I thought it was hilarious when I saw I was playing on Court 16. My coaches, when they arrived at the match, they couldn’t have a place to sit. I had friends as well who were stuck outside and couldn’t watch me play,” Bouchard said later in a live interview on the U.S. Tennis Channel. “I take it as a challenge … No one’s going to hand it to you, so you have to work your way up – from Court 16 all the way to Philippe-Chatrier.”