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Wimbledon: Bouchard is set for a rest after her shock early exit

By Tom Allnutt

Published 01/07/2015

Injury hangover: Eugenie Bouchard blamed an abdominal tear picked up earlier this month for her Wimbledon exit
Injury hangover: Eugenie Bouchard blamed an abdominal tear picked up earlier this month for her Wimbledon exit

One of the biggest stars of Wimbledon last year, Eugenie Bouchard, became the first big-name casualty of the 2015 event yesterday after being knocked out in the first round.

Canadian Bouchard marched through to the 2014 final, where Petra Kvitova denied her the title, but has endured a terrible season on tour and the Wimbledon exit adds to her troubles.

She lost 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 to China's Duan Ying-Ying on Court Three, sealing her own fate by cracking a forehand into the net.

Bouchard, now 21, showed extraordinary self-belief during her terrific run last year.

She joked about her mother's fascination with the Royal family - she and twin sister Beatrice are named after the children of Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York. But Bouchard was a steely character, and losing the final to Kvitova was a heavy blow.

She was expected to push on this year and challenge Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova for the Grand Slams, and the top ranking, but Bouchard has gone backwards instead, tumbling out of the world's top 10.

A run of nine defeats in 10 matches before arriving in England told its own sorry story.

Bouchard split from coach Nick Saviano in the winter, with Frenchman Sam Sumyk later appointed his successor. In May she was named the world's most marketable athlete - bar none - by Sport Pro magazine.

In contrast, Duan came through qualifying for Wimbledon this year and the 25-year-old has career earnings under £250,000.

This was her Wimbledon debut and she seized the moment against an opponent who was there for the taking, far from the warrior who caused such a stir the last time she was in London.

That could be put down to a substantial degree to an abdominal injury that Bouchard suffered when retiring from a match during the Aegon International earlier in June. She said: "I felt very unprepared for this match but I wanted to play no matter what.

"After Eastbourne we did testing and I've got a grade two tear in my abs.

"It was probably not smart to play here but I couldn't pass on Wimbledon.

"I was taped and it felt okay and I was trying not to think about it, but I haven't practised that much so I felt my timing was very off.

"I'm going to take some time to heal and maybe not think about tennis for a little bit and then get back to it.

"There was no question I was going to play even though I was advised not to. I was going out to play to the end no matter what.

"I'm disappointed because I lost and it was probably not the smartest decision."

Bouchard avoided punishment after questions were raised over whether her bra broke Wimbledon's strict all-white dress code.

Chair umpire Louise Engzell noticed that she was wearing a black bra and referred the matter to the Referee's Office, but it was decided that no action was required.

Asked about it afterwards, the Canadian player said: "I was not aware of that at all. And no-one told me anything about my bra."

Romanian Simona Halep became the highest seed to join the Wimbledon first-round exodus as she lost to Jana Cepelova.

A semi-finalist at SW19 last year, this time Halep folded from a strong position to lose 5-7 6-4 6-3 against a Slovakian opponent who is ranked 106th in the world.

Belfast Telegraph

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