It’s been a while since i’ve had the opportunity to write a preview involving Eugenie Bouchard. The last couple of months have been ROUGH for Genie. The world number six had lost her last six matches, of which five had come against players outside of the top 50. Chuck in handshake gate and it’s been a wacky whirlwind of negativity for Bouchard. She at least managed to stem the tide with her first win since Indian Wells as she defeated Zarina Diyas in her second round match in Rome, 6-3 6-4. It was a respectable win although Bouchard had her struggles trying to close out the match as a 5-0 second set lead nearly disappeared. I hated the handshake stuff but that’s in the past now. I do respect that Bouchard hasn’t shyed away from her issues on the tennis court and has been refreshingly honest in press.
In the third round, Bouchard faces Carla Suarez Navarro in a Roland Garros rematch from last year. Suarez Navarro has been in terrific form all year and is currently at number four in the Race to Singapore… FOUR! Suarez Navarro needed three sets to get past Mona Barthel in the first round but had no worries in her second round win over Heather Watson, 6-1 6-1. This promises to be a really fascinating match after their pivotal quarter-final match at Roland Garros last year where Bouchard came back to prevail, 7-6(4) 2-6 7-5. On equal measures, it was a massive win for Bouchard and a painful loss for CSN, who had that match on her terms but wilted away under the pressure at the end.
Carla will be the heavy favourite for this match based on recent form but i’m sure that quarter-final match in Paris will be imprinted on her mind. On the other hand, one win is unlikely to have solved all of Genie’s problems. When Serena Williams hasn’t been on the other side of the net, Carla has been mentally tough in 2015 and she has won 15 of her 18 three set matches. The pressure should be off Bouchard somewhat, but beating an in-form Suarez Navarro on clay is likely to be a step too far right now.
Prediction: Suarez Navarro d. Bouchard in 2 sets (1 tight, 1 easy)
WTA Rome 3rd round predictions
Serena Williams d. Christina McHale in 2 sets
Maria Sharapova d. Bojana Jovanovski in 2 sets (1 tight, 1 easy)
Victoria Azarenka d. Irina-Camelia Begu in 3 sets
Ekaterina Makarova d. Alexandra Dulgheru in 2 sets
ATP Rome 3rd round predictions
Rafael Nadal d. John Isner in 3 sets
Roger Federer d. Kevin Anderson in 2 sets
Novak Djokovic d. Thomaz Bellucci in 2 sets
David Ferrer d. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in 3 sets
Andy Murray d. David Goffin in 3 sets
Kei Nishikori d. Viktor Troicki in 2 sets
Stan Wawrinka d. Dominic Thiem in 3 sets
Fabio Fognini d. Tomas Berdych in 3 sets *I’m a fool, i’ve been done in by the Fabio again. He was fantastic against Dimitrov today*