ISTANBUL — Canadian qualifier Eugenie Bouchard has advanced to the quarterfinals of the Istanbul Tennis Championship after recording a big upset on Thursday.
Bouchard, from Westmount, Que., beat No. 1 seed and world No. 34 Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 7-6 (3), 6-7 (5), 6-2 in the second round of the WTA Tour clay-court event.
The 26-year-old Bouchard, ranked 272nd, recorded her first win in four career matches against the 35-year-old Kuznetsova, who captured the U.S. Open title in 2004 and the French Open crown in 2009.
Bouchard won the first 13 points of the third set after failing to convert on three match points in the second.
"That was extremely tough mentally," she said. "I honestly just tried to not think about it at all. I really just tried to block it out of my mind because if I (thought about it), I would be frustrated and angry and that wasn't going to help me in the third. I tried to just literally put it out of my mind and literally try to have amnesia and forget about it."
Bouchard, who won two qualifying matches to get into the main draw, will face world No. 92 Danka Kovinic of Montenegro in her third quarterfinal appearance of the season.
In a match that lasted two hours 50 minutes, Bouchard won 67.1 per cent of points on first serve and broke Kuznetsova six times.
"It's definitely going to help my confidence," Bouchard said. "I already had confidence because of the hard work and I just feel like matches like this are just results of that. It takes a lot to get to this point. It's a long time coming. It's more just validation that all that hard work is for something."
A former world No. 5 after reaching the Wimbledon final in 2014, Bouchard has tumbled down the rankings in recent years.
If she loses her next match, Bouchard is projected to rise to No. 216 in the rankings next week. She could move into the top 150 if she wins the second WTA tournament title of her career.
Because of her ranking, Bouchard couldn't get into the U.S. Open, which cancelled its qualifying tournament this year due to COVID-19.
"The remainder of year just so unpredictable," Bouchard said. "I'm just kind of living week by week, day by day. Tournaments are popping up every day, tournaments are getting cancelled every day. It's kind of crazy. I don't even know what I'm doing next week. I just know I have a match tomorrow and that's it."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 10, 2020.
The Canadian Press