Saturday, April 5, 2014

Resurgent Petkovic ends Bouchard's run in Charleston

Photo by Daniel Ward

This week in Charleston, 6th seed Eugenie Bouchard has made a specialty out of winning three-set matches, but today, she found herself on the wrong end of the third set. The young Canadian--who has created quite a buzz this week at the Family Circle Cup--was defeated 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the semifinals by former top 10 player Andrea Petkovic. Petkovic, whose career was put on hold because of serious injuries she sustained to her ankle and her back, is seeded 14th in Charleston.

Photo by Daniel Ward
A little over a year ago, Petkovic's ranking had dropped to number 177 in the world, but she had brought it back up to number 40 (but only after having to take more time off to rehab a knee injury) by the time she entered the Charleston tournament this year. Because she dropped off the radar for a time, the popular German player hasn't been the focus of a lot of attention lately, and that may have worked in her favor this week. After going three sets with Lesia Tsurenko, Petkovic went 6-0, 6-0 against Lourdes Dominguez Lino. She then lost only one game against 2009 champion Sabine Lisicki. In the quarterfinals, Petkovic defeated 9th seed Lucie Safarova.

In today's match, Petkovic (whose father played tennis for the University of South Carolina) said that the first set didn't really feel like 6-1 to her. "It was kind of each game I had my chances, and I just didn't take them, and Genie was there. Every time I gave her something, she took it...yeah, very decisively." Bouchard has beaten players--including number 2 seed Jelena Janovic--all week by taking the ball very early and keeping it low. Her shot-making has thrilled the crowd and overcome her opponents.

Photo by Daniel Ward
And it looked like she was headed to the final after she went up 4-2 in the third set. But then her level slipped a bit, and Petkovic stole the momentum from her. It was an error here and an error there, with Petko fighting for every point. After she won, Petkovic cried a bit. She later said that she was "so relieved and I was proud that I came back from all these injuries, and I never thought that I would play finals in the big tournaments again...."

The German player, known for her keen wit and post-match dancing, also confirmed that she has given up on-court coaching. "...I don't want to do it anymore, to be honest," she told the press. "because I feel like I'm 26 years old now, and I'm very experienced. I'm a big girl. I can handle myself."

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