The most anticipated match of the day, and perhaps the entire year so far, between Eugenie Bouchard and Maria Sharapova lit up Monday’s night session in Madrid. I was here for the drama but was kind of expecting a letdown… in fact, it lived up to expectation and THEN SOME. Bouchard beat Sharapova, 7-5 2-6 6-4 in two hours and 51 minutes of thrilling tennis.
I don’t really know where to start with this match other than I absolutely loved every minute of it. The quality did waver at times but the intensity, shotmaking and all round edge-of-your-set drama was marvellous. Definitely subjective, but it was one of my favourite matches of the year so far. It’s been a while since my heart was beating so fast at the end of a match even though I was neutral in terms of a winner.
It’s been a while since a single match has gripped me so much into writing an emergency post and i’m rambling! A few highlights because I need to go to bed… 😂😂😂
In the first set, Sharapova produced a stunning cross-court forehand winner in a game where she saved two break points to hold to 3-2.
Sharapova earnt the first break of the match but Bouchard came back to win three games on the trot, moving her opponent effectively from side-to-side. Bouchard was unable to serve out the set at *5-4 but produced a remarkable get at *0-30.
Bouchard broke again in a titanic six deuce game and served out the first set, thanks to some stellar serving in the pressure moments. It was Sharapova though who produced the shot of the game with a stunning forehand from almost outside of the tramlines.
Bouchard seemed to have the upper edge early in the second set but Sharapova wouldn’t budge, saving a break point at 1-1 to stay in front. Bouchard’s resistance buckled, without warning, at *2-3 as Sharapova’s intensity shone bright like a beacon. The Russian player won the second set on another great point.
The decider had up and down moments but remained enthralling throughout. At one point, there were three consecutive holds from *0-40 down which I don’t think i’ve ever seen before!
The pair exchanged breaks at 3-3 and then Bouchard broke again with Sharapova unable to take advantage of a *40-15 lead on her serve. Bouchard was noticeably tight trying to serve out the match at *5-4 – she got it together again, saving two break points. Bouchard chalked up a first match point which befitted the match… WILD!
On the second match point, Bouchard produced a magnificent cross-court forehand winner. And yeah, she was happy! The handshake was fine…
A few quick takeaways from the match…
Bouchard played a STUNNING match. Seriously, props to Eugenie because this was high quality tennis and most impressive of all, she managed to sustain it for the majority of the match.
I was just trying to think of when i’ve seen Bouchard play this well and i’m honestly stumped. It was night and day from what we have witnessed from Bouchard during much of the past two years. Here’s hoping she can use this match as a springboard but who knows?!
There was a lot of good stuff from Sharapova but boyyyy, did she go for the lines at the end. She barely missed a few shots towards the end but I was surprised she went so close to the lines. Sharapova did seem to tire midway through the third set but I think based on her level through the first two tournaments back, her form has been very encouraging.
Bouchard advances to a third round clash with Angelique Kerber, which promises to be fascinating!