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Eugenie Bouchard's career slump continues with loss to Bianca Andreescu

Eugenie Bouchard's career slump continues with loss to Bianca Andreescu
Eugenie Bouchard walks off the court after her loss to Bianca Andreescu at the Oracle Challenger Series in Newport Beach on Friday. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Eugenie Bouchard sat motionless beside the court, clutching a white towel with her teeth. Then she snapped out of her daze, wiped her face and took a few swigs of water before rising to endure an even more brutal defeat than the set before.

Bouchard’s opponent, fellow Canadian Bianca Andreescu, won the opening point of the second set with a powerful shot to the right that whizzed past Bouchard.

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Bouchard didn’t even try chasing it. She just stared.

The No. 6-seeded Andreescu held No. 3 Bouchard to zero points in that game, then went on to claim the quarterfinal match, 6-2, 6-0, at the Oracle Challenger Series in Newport Beach on Friday. She will face No. 2 Tatjana Maria in the semifinals Saturday.

“Right now, everything is clicking for me,” Andreescu said. “I’ve been putting a lot of work in.”

Andreescu overwhelmed Bouchard with her power, keeping her scrambling at the back of the court to make soft returns that Andreescu slammed with ease — if they landed inbounds. Andreescu served six aces. Bouchard hardly broke a sweat.

Bianca Andreescu returns a shot to Eugenie Bouchard during their match on Friday.
Bianca Andreescu returns a shot to Eugenie Bouchard during their match on Friday. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Earlier on Friday, the spectators at Court 1 saw Lauren Davis and Taylor Townsend engage in a three-set battle that lasted more than three hours; Davis eventually won the tiebreaker when Townsend slammed an overhead into the net.

Bouchard’s defeat took less than 54 minutes.

This is far from the biggest stage Bouchard has played on. She reached the semifinals of the 2014 Australian Open and played in the Wimbledon final later that year. But after a U.S. Open match on Sept. 4, 2015, Bouchard slipped on cleaning solution on the floor of the locker room and fell flat on her back. She sustained a concussion that sidelined her for the rest of the year.

After her fall, Bouchard’s ranking dropped from No. 25 to outside the Top 100. She said the years of constant losses that followed eroded her resolve, but she recently regained some optimism.

“I believe that the end of 2018 was a little turning point.” Bouchard told the New Zealand Herald before the ASB Classic in December. "I’m really motivated — which is something I have struggled with in the past."

Bouchard fell to Serena Williams in the second round of the Australian Open, 6-2, 6-2, but she had reached a No. 79 ranking before losing to No. 106 Andreescu on Friday.

The match was the first time in their careers that Bouchard and Andreescu have faced off in a tournament. They are the top two Canadian players, which added some pressure on Andreescu, but she remained unfazed when playing.

“If I step on the court and give 100%,” Andreescu said, “that’s all that matters.”

After her defeat, Bouchard grabbed her red tennis bag and hurried off the court, gripping the towel draped over her shoulder. Andreescu lingered to speak with reporters, then signed autographs and took pictures with a group of children who were waiting by the gate.

Bouchard declined to speak to the media. Once she wordlessly wove through the crowd, she disappeared inside.

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Her day, at least, was done.

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