‘S-HERTOGENBOSCH, Netherlands: Rising Canadian star Eugenie Bouchard saw her pre-Wimbledon preparations go awry after losing to Vania King in the first round of the WTA/ATP ‘s-Hertogenbosch Open on Tuesday, but there were no such problems for Simona Halep.
Former Wimbledon junior champion Bouchard, who pulled out of last week’s tournament in Birmingham after reaching the semi-finals of the French Open, was beaten 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 by King, meaning she will arrive at next week’s tournament at the All England Club with just one grasscourt match under her belt this season.
The world number 13, who also made the last four of the Australian Open in January, raced through the opening set backed by a pair of service breaks.
But the 20-year-old was pegged back in the second set with American King, ranked 75th, capitalising on a lone break of serve.
Bouchard was forced to fend off a pair of break points at the start of the deciding set but the third seed came unstuck in her following service game as King made the vital breakthrough to take a 2-1 lead.
Bouchard had opportunities to pull herself back into the match as four break points came and went with the Canadian struggling to find her rhythm before King sealed the contest after just over two hours on court.
“I tried to get to the net more and take the ball earlier,” King said.
“I think by making myself try to come to the net more, I was more aggressive on all of my shots.”
Second seed Dominika Cibulkova was also sent tumbling out in the Netherlands after losing 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova.
“It was a tough match against a tough opponent,” said Shvedova, who next plays Dutch wildcard and 2006 winner Michaella Krajicek.
“It’s a good first match on grass for us and good preparation for Wimbledon. I’m glad we put on a good match in front of a lot of people.”
With the top players falling all around her Halep, the defending champion, made sure she didn’t add her name to the list of casualties.
The top-seeded Romanian brushed aside Belarusian Olga Govortsova 7-5, 6-2 in her first match since a narrow defeat to Maria Sharapova in the French Open final.
Halep, ranked a career-high third in the world following her Paris exploits, will face German youngster Annika Beck in the second round.
Her path to retaining the title seemingly became even more straightforward after fifth seed Andrea Petkovic of Germany was sent packing by Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 7-5 in round two.
Roland Garros quarter-finalist Garbine Muguruza swept aside Yvonne Meusburger of Austria 6-4, 6-1 in her second-round match, while fellow Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro, who also reached the last eight at the French Open, eased past Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-4, 6-2 in round one.
Men’s second seed Fernando Verdasco, the highest-ranked player in the field following the withdrawal of compatriot David Ferrer, recovered from a slow start to beat Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the opening round.
Spanish third seed Roberto Bautista Agut also breezed into the last 16 with a routine 6-1, 6-3 win over Daniel Gimeno-Traver.
However, Halle finalist Alejandro Falla was unable to repeat last week’s heroics as he was dumped out at the first hurdle by eighth seed Juergen Melzer of Austria.