The WTA’s new darling, Eugenie Bouchard is beginning to divide opinion amongst tennis fans. Since reaching the Australian Open semi-finals, the WTA have absolutely bombarded Genie in every available advertising stream. She’s been to Singapore to promote the YEC with Chris Evert and has barely been off the WTA website in the last few months. On Tuesday, her hot shot from Oeiras (which was pretty great) was plastered across the WTA website and my Twitter feed too. I’m getting a sense that away from the GenieArmy, some fans are starting to get a bit frustrated with the Bouchard hype.
I’ve always liked Bouchard and been a fan of her mentality on court. I actually had her in my predictions to crack the top ten at the end of 2014. Many people seemed to turn their nose at this, but it doesn’t look completely stupid right now as she is ranked at number 18. Since Australia, her results have been respectable. In the face of all the attention and generally, how WTA players respond in tournaments after a big, life-changing result, she’s done a remarkable job. A semi-final appearance in Charleston where she defeated Venus Williams and Jelena Jankovic back-to-back was impressive. Bouchard though, is yet to get that elusive WTA title. She’s been playing well, but hasn’t quite been able to string it all together in one tournament.
I’ve been impressed with the way that Bouchard has dealt with everything that has come her way in 2014. She always come across as a little guarded in interviews, but likeable. I enjoyed her segment in the WTA Live event from Charleston where she really came out of her shell and showed a bit of her personality.
Bouchard’s segment came at about 9 minutes in. This was the best WTA Live event of the year and it’s a great feature, particularly when some of the lower ranked players get interviewed. The whole video is worth a watch!
However, I do feel she made her first glaring mistake a few weeks ago. There was an incident at the Fed Cup that received quite a lot of attention on social media. Before the Fed Cup tie between Canada and Slovakia, Bouchard refused to shake hands with Kristina Kucova, describing it as “lame” (article HERE). I thought this was a really disappointing move from Bouchard to not observe a Fed Cup tradition and at least show some respect to her opponent. You could tell this did not go down well with her teammate, Aleksandra Wozniak and rightfully so.
So why am I going on about Bouchard and writing an essay? Well, Genie is in action on Thursday in Oeiras. After two excellent straight set wins over Alisa Kleybanova and Yaroslava Shvedova, she will play Svetlana Kuznetsova in what feels more like a final in this draw of players. I have to admit, I haven’t seen a great deal of Bouchard on clay to really know her credentials on this surface. Kuznetsova is a great clay courter and has played well in the last couple of weeks. She defeated Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor, the champion in Marrakech last week, in the second round of Oeiras. After losing the first set, Kuznetsova won a tight second before strolling through the decider to post a 5-7 6-4 6-1 victory. This will be a first career match-up between Sveta and Genie and it should be a fascinating encounter. I’m actually going for Kuznetsova, although this remains a great chance for Bouchard to bag a first WTA title.
In answering my essay question, I do think Bouchard is a top ten player in the making. I’m not willing to stick my neck out any higher than that for now. She still has a long way to go. There are so many talented WTA players, who are starting to bloom this year. I feel like writing a list… Elina Svitolina, Garbine Muguruza, Madison Keys, Annika Beck, Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor, Caroline Garcia, Camila Giorgi, Monica Puig, Karolina Pliskova, Lauren Davis, Donna Vekic, Ajla Tomljanovic, Belinda Bencic and Taylor Townsend just to name A FEW. Out of that list, the one that excites me the most in terms of potential is Bencic. If one or two of these players could have a huge result at the next two Grand Slams, it could take some of the heat off Bouchard. However, it does seem the WTA have their answer to the next big thing so don’t expect the Genie overload to simmer anytime soon…
Yay or Nay to Genie? I’d love to know your opinion! I realise I have just given into the Genie hype by writing a whole article about her. I promise I won’t do this again haha.
WTA Oeiras Quarter-Final Predictions
Carla Suarez Navarro d. Polona Hercog in 3 sets
Irina-Camelia Begu d. Timea Bacsinszky in 3 sets
Roberta Vinci d. Elena Vesnina in 2 tight sets
Svetlana Kuznetsova d. Eugenie Bouchard in 3 tight sets
ATP Oeiras 2nd Round Predictions
Milos Raonic d. Pablo Cuevas in 2 sets
Tomas Berdych d. Somdev Devvarman in 2 sets
Carlos Berlocq d. Lukasz Kubot in 3 sets *HOW IS THIS MATCH ON CENTRE OVER THE NUMBER ONE WOMENS SEED?!?!?!*
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez d. Gastao Elias in 2 sets
Pablo Carreno Busta d. Victor Hanescu in 3 sets
Andrey Golubev d. Leonardo Mayer in 3 sets
ATP Munich 2nd Round Predictions
Andreas Seppi d. Albert Ramos in 2 tight sets
Tommy Haas d. Alejandro Falla in 3 sets
Fabio Fognini d. Dustin Brown in 3 sets
Federico Delbonis d. Thomasz Bellucci in 3 sets