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Bencic battles past rejuvenated Bouchard to reach Ostrava second round
Canadian Bouchard played one of her best matches in recent years, just a month after returning from a shoulder injury
Reigning Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic needed more than two and a half hours to battle past former top five player Eugenie Bouchard and advance to the second round of the Ostrava Open on Tuesday.
Bencic overcame the loss of a close first set in which both players had a set point before Bouchard, playing in only her fifth event of the season due to injury, finally claimed it 9-7.
But the sixth-seeded Swiss bounced back to take the second set 6-1 and send the match into a decider. In the third, Bencic took the early break in the fifth game. However, while serving for the match at 5-4, she had to resist a tough challenge from the former Wimbledon finalist who earned two break points.
It was one of the best displays from Bouchard in recent years, the Canadian looking more like the woman who reached the Wimbledon final in 2014, having only just returned to action after 17 months out with a shoulder injury.
Bencic finally held her serve to close out the 6-7 (7), 6-1, 6-4 in two hours and 39 minutes to improve to 3-0 over Bouchard in the pros (Bouchard had won their only meeting in the junior circuit).
Bencic, ranked No 14, will next face either former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, who won the title in Tallinn last week, or American Shelby Rogers. The Swiss had reached the semi-finals in Tallinn last week where she was beaten by Krejcikova in a three-set thriller.
Ostrava WTA 500, first-round matches
- Alycia Parks (Q) beat Karolina Pliskova: 6-0, 7-6 (3)
- Daria Kasatkina (5) beat Emma Raducanu: 7-5, 6-4
- Aliaksandra Sasnovich beat Jelena Ostapenko (8): 6-2, 6-2
- Catherine McNally (Q) beat Anna Blinkova (Q): 6-1, 6-2
- Tereza Martincova (WC) beat Jil Teichmann: 7-6 (1), 7-6 (5)
- Petra Kvitova (WC) beat Bernarda Pera (Q): 6-3, 2-6, 6-4
- Elena Rybakina beat Madison Keys: 5-7, 6-3, 6-3
- Ekaterina Alexandrova beat Victoria Azarenka: 6-4, 4-6, 6-2
- Ajla Tomljanovic (Q) beat Shuai Zhang: 6-3, 6-3
- Karolina Muchova vs. Beatriz Haddad Maia
- Shelby Rogers vs. Barbora Krejcikova