Canadian Eugenie Bouchard was the talk of the tennis world a year ago.
Ranked No.60 at the time, the former Wimbledon finalist won a high-quality, intense battle with No.258-ranked wildcard Maria Sharapova in the Madrid Open second round.
It was the second tournament in Sharapova’s return from a 15-month suspension after testing positive for meldonium – and Bouchard hadn’t held back in sharing her opinion about her one-time idol.
When they came face-to-face on court, the tennis world was captivated to see what would unfold.
The result? Bouchard produced one of her best performances since the breakout 2014 season that saw her reach a Wimbledon final and rise to world No.5.
The “inspired” Canadian then defeated top seed Angelique Kerber in the next round – but her career has since stalled.
Sharapova returned to the Madrid Open as a direct entrant this year, while the 24-year-old Bouchard was unable to enter with her No.118 ranking. She accepted a wildcard into an ITF tournament in France instead.
Bouchard’s ranking drop can be explained by an unflattering singles record since competing in Madrid last year:
6 WINS from 22 WTA main draw matches (including one via retirement)
9 WINS from 26 matches, including qualifying and Fed Cup
17 TOURNAMENTS contested in the past 12 months
11 FIRST ROUND exits (plus 1 qualifying exit)
6 WILDCARDS received
2 MATCHES best winning streak
6 MATCHES worst losing streak
6 MATCHES won in straight sets
12 MATCHES lost in straight sets
2 WINS from nine matches against top 50-ranked opponents
0 WINS from seven matches against top 30-ranked opponents
The numbers are not kind for Bouchard. However, she showed promising signs in her most recent appearance, winning two singles rubbers in a Fed Cup tie last month. This included a hard-fought three-set win over world No.41 Lesia Tsurenko.
“I’m trying to work,” Bouchard said during the Fed Cup tie against Ukraine. “You can’t always make finals of Grand Slams every single year, so you’ve got to keep working until it clicks again. That’s where I’m at.”
But there was more bad news on Wednesday when Bouchard was forced to withdraw from this week’s Cagnes-Sur-Mer ITF event in France with a reported abdominal injury.
Sad movie recommendations? ????????
— Genie Bouchard (@geniebouchard) May 8, 2018
Bouchard is slated to compete in an ITF event in Slovakia next week, then contest French Open qualifying. It is only the second time, and first since Australian Open 2013, that the Canadian has needed to play a Grand Slam qualifying tournament.
More worryingly for Bouchard – who SportsPro Media named the world’s most marketable athlete in 2015 – her ranking is projected to fall to at least No.167 when her Madrid Open quarterfinal points are removed next week.
It will be her lowest ranking since October 2012, and with second round French Open points to defend in coming weeks, Bouchard could potentially fall outside the world’s top 200 before Wimbledon.
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