Gstaad – Eugenie Bouchard quelled a home threat at the Gstaad WTA tournament on Tuesday, fighting back to beat Timea Bacsinszky 4-6, 7-6 (7/1), 6-4 for a second-round place.
The 146th-ranked Canadian who played the Wimbledon final four years ago but has since suffered through season after season of disappointment and a tumbling ranking, spent more than two and three-quarter hours in overcoming two-time Roland Garros semi-finalist Bacsinszky.
The Swiss who once stood ninth in the world, missed the entire clay and grass season after tearing her right calf muscle during a match warm-up in Rabat last spring.
She has played – and lost – only five matches this season – her ranking stands at 761.
Bouchard exited in the Wimbledon second round a fortnight ago, then switched to clay last week by entering a lower-level event, where she also lost her opening match.
Despite her clay victory, the 24-year-old is keeping any hopes of turning her career round on an extremely low simmer.
“All the conditions were against me,” said the former member of the ranking Top 5.
“She is Swiss, playing at home as a former Top 10 player on her favourite surface.
“It was a battle. I can’t compare this match to any previous (recent) ones.
“All I know is I had to battle.”
Bouchard lost the opening set in 44 minutes despite taking the early lead on a break and was severely tested in the second.
That set featured six breaks of serve, with Bouchard again losing an early break and eventually forced to play a tiebreaker.
Though she did not consider the decider a particularly key factor, Bouchard won it handily to get right back into the fight as light began to fade in this VIP alpine village populated by both jet-setters and local farmers.
Bouchard went up a break in the third set, racing away to 4-1, but was reeled in to 4-3 by the home player.
The Canadian earned a match point from a Swiss double-fault while leading 5-3; Bacsinszky saved it with a service winner.
Bouchard kept up her quest as light faded, earning a second concluding chance and coming good with a forehand winner against the former tournament semi-finalist.
“I didn’t consider anything a turning point, I was just trying to play better,” Bouchard said.
“I didn’t play well last week and practice has not been great this week.
“I didn’t feel so good, so I just kept trying to play better today.”
Bouchard will next face 2016 Gstaad champion Victorija Golubic, who beat German Antonia Lottner 6-3, 6-2.
Gstaad WTA results on Tuesday (x denotes seeding):
Alize Cornet (FRA x1) bt Silvia Soler (ESP) 6-2, 6-2
Conny Perrin (SUI) bt Saisai Zheng (CHN) 6-1, 4-6, 7-5
Patty Schnyder (SUI) bt Kathinka Von Deichmann (LIE) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
Samantha Stosur (AUS x5) bt Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 6-3, 6-2
Viktria Kuzmov (SVK x3) bt Martina Trevisan (ITA) 6-2, 7-5
Eugnie Bouchard (CAN) bt Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) 4-6, 7-6 (7/1), 6-4
Viktorija Golubic (SUI x8) bt Antonia Lottner (GER) 6-3, 6-2
Elitsa Kostova (BUL) bt Anna Kalinskaya (RUS) 6-4, 0-6, 6-2
Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) bt Carina Witthoeft (GER x4) 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 7-6 (13/11)