A match of the year contender – Bouchard beats Sharapova in three thrilling sets

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!

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17 thoughts on “A match of the year contender – Bouchard beats Sharapova in three thrilling sets

    • Bouchard is the kind of confidence player that a win like this could really push forward, sure! Kerber will need to be on and push to frustrate Eugenie.

      Did anybody watch the Kuznetsova match? Curious how good she was?

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  1. It’s a shame Genie isn’t always motivated like this, she would have been a player to be wary of constantly. Alas, not sure if it ‘sux’ for Maria, but it used to be only Serena who kind of had it in for her. Now, who is going to be next? Cornet(needs a new target with Serena out) , Cibulkova, CoCo , even Kerber or an Azarenka on the comeback trail !?!

    Brief, civil, handshake…thankfully, we all live to tennis again another day.

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    • I think the player Maria’s most afraid of now is probably Garbine Muguruza. The last time they played, she thanked the crowds after the match for their support against a “very tough opponent”. Garbine’s won a grand slam since then.

      Having said that, CoCo’s got a score to settle with her as well because she’s convinced that Maria cheated during their Wimbledon quarter-final match in 2015 by moving around while she was serving, so she’s going to be fired up to win when they next play (which should be a match to remember).

      Domi will be a tough opponent for Maria as well, she’s beaten her three times already and is bound to want to make it four times. Kerber, and Azarenka on the comeback trail; should be worth watching too.

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      • The articles stating Bouchard has been Sharapova’s most VOCAL critic are a little off though. Mladenovic arguably went in much harder when she made it personal and claimed nobody liked Maria to start with in addition to calling her a cheater.

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  2. Probably too early to read too much into both of her losses, but discounting the ‘bad blood’ that she seemingly shares with both, I think taking her to a third set, at worst, and staying mentally tough is a winnable strategy. Of course, you’ll have to have the game to match her in the first place else Maria gets freebies of her power.

    I’m certainly looking forward to the grass at Wimbledon now, it could be a very exciting tournament this year.

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  3. This was very enjoyable and the most intense match of the year so far imho. Some very exciting rallies and I was changing my mind constantly about who I thought would win. It was the best match that I have seen Bouchard play and she showed a lot of grit and determination. However Bouchard does not have this attitude every time she plays and it will be interesting to see if she plays Kerber with the same fighting spirit or not. I do not like her but she can play some good stuff when she wants to even though I do think that her 2014 Wimbledon final finish flattered her.

    Sharapova always goes on court with a determined positive attitude in every match that she competes in which is the main thing that I admire about her. I was glad that she said ‘ well played ‘ to Bouchard at the net after she had lost. She did look a bit rusty at times in the important points here and should do better in Italy.

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    • Yep feeling the same, can’t really remember a match where Bouchard played so well from start to finish. Fascinated to see how she gets on vs. Kerber.

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  4. Bouchard played very well. Maria also played very well. If Maria gets a wildcard for French Open I think she will do well there.

    I think luck is no longer on Maria’s side, she always used to win such tight matches, ALWAYS. But now she has lost to Mladenovic and Bouchard.

    However, once Maria makes it to the finals of the FO, all these losses will be forgotten in a second!

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    • Yes true, early days, but what I’m also watching out for, is how much of her aura she has lost. Especially with players who can match her game but usually concede to her in terms of mental toughness.

      Some who think her earlier performances were aided by her ‘medication’ or ‘mis-medication’ will likely have a mental boost now. I have to agree with @Giles, it will be interesting to watch how a player like Muguruza goes about playing her now.

      Maria indeed has lost some goodwill with respect to her peers, but I’m not sure she has the game to compensate for it. She still has her fight, and here I do believe fortune may still smile upon her now and then.

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  5. Perhaps the best match of the year in terms of intensity. Have it up there along with Kutznetosva vs Jankovic at the Aussie Open. However the media is already hyping Bouchard up again by it being her comeback. It’s still early for Maria, as she needs these kind of matches to get back into rhythm and it’ll be interesting to see how Bouchard plays the next couple of weeks.

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      • Haha maybe cause I was there live watching it James but the intensity was much more higher than Maria and Genies match at times.
        I definitely recommend you watching the highlights. I think that it would finish in the top 5 for best matches of the year

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      • Ah yes of course. I will do when I come to write the best matches post at the end of the year. It will be tricky this year because i’ve missed so many matches so might have to do something different.

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