MELBOURNE: Eugenie Bouchard cut a frustrated figure after she threw away a chance to reach the Australian Open last 16 on Friday, putting her comeback on hold.
The 22-year-old Canadian has returned to competitive form after a torrid period with injuries, but her promising run in Melbourne was halted by America’s Coco Vandeweghe.
Bouchard was a break up in the final set but she was broken back and then squandered four break points before losing 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.
“It really sucks. Very disappointed, because I feel like I had so many chances, especially in that third set,” she said.
“You need to try and close out as many of these matches when you get those chances.”
Despite her defeat, it has been an encouraging month for Bouchard, who also reached the Sydney International semi-finals — winning her first matches since September.
Bouchard was a Wimbledon finalist in 2014, as well as reaching that year’s Australian and French Open semis, but she has struggled over the past two seasons.
Bouchard’s problems included a forearm injury and a concussion suffered in a fall at the 2015 US Open, but she is now back in full training and finally putting wins together.
“It’s been two years of struggle, especially the last half of last year. So, you know, I think it’s a very solid first step, this trip,” she said.
“It’s kind of like a restart process. I can’t expect too much at the beginning. It wasn’t a horrible trip,” she added.
However, Vandeweghe was dismissive of her victory over Bouchard, saying it ranked “not that high, now that I think about it” in her list of career highlights.
“It was kind of expected, in my mind, to get the win and to get the victory,” she said.