Tag Archives: bouchard

As I pack for indian wells….

Indian Wells BNP Paribas Open is only a couple of weeks away and as I start packing I am starting to ponder what the event holds.

First of all I am sure the desert weather will be a relief from the bitter cold winter that continues to grip Toronto with another round of snow forecast for this week. However you never know what the desert will hold, extreme hot days and frigid nights make packing a challenge.

The venue for this tournament is first class.  Not only do you get to watch great tennis, but the backdrop of palm trees fading into mountains glistening in the sun is a whole level of awesomeness on its own.

The women’s draw appeared to be wide open, that was until a couple of weeks ago when Serena announced that after an absence of 14 years she would be returning to the California desert. I am not sure if she is a guaranteed trophy holder as there will be several players taking a direct aim at her. Furthermore many of these players have been playing tournaments and staying match tough, whereas Serena has not played any competitive matches since her win at the Australian Open.  Not only could she face tough challenges from some of the new power hitters in the game including Garbine Muguruza and Madison Keys, but an unseeded, quickly returning to form Victoria Azarenka is lurking in the field.

Keep an eye out for the Czechs including Doha winner Lucie Safarova and  Barbora Zahlavova Strycova to do some damage, as well as newcomer Karolina Pliskova.  Dominika Cibulkova could also be a factor if she has sufficiently recovered from her achilles injury. Kvitova would have been a factor but apparently she has just withdrawn from the tournament and no reason has been provided as of yet.

Taylor Townsend of the USA was granted a wild card into the main draw and after watching her at the French Open I will not be surprised to see her post some impressive wins. Hopefully a physically healthy Bettanie Mattek-Sands can have a great run close to home.

Unfortunately I don’t expect much from Canadian Eugenie Bouchard who has not played well yet in 2015. After hiring Sam Sumyk as her new coach she has withdrawn prior to her last two tournaments, and i have heard a few rumblings about an arm injury.

Of course the ultimate final would be another Serena and Maria match up, but I think they will both have to work hard to make it to the final.

On the men’s side of things we could be heading toward another Roger-Novak final as in last week’s Dubai event where Roger came out the winner. A win in Indian Wells by Roger would certainly have everyone talking about him regaining the number one ranking. Nadal played well on the clay courts of South America the past couple of weeks, but i don’t think he is up to the challenge of a Masters 1000 level hard court tournament yet. Kei Nishikori is now the number 4 ranked player in the world and the hard court suits his game so i certainly think he will be around until at least the quarter finals.  Andy Murray hopes to answer a few questions about his play after some early round losses this year have resulted in him now occupying the number 5 ranking.

As far as upsets go I don’t expect any major upsets involving the top five. But the new wave of players including Nick Kyrgios, Thanes Kokkinakis, Borna Coric and maybe even Ryan Harrison could present some problems for Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov and perhaps even Thomas Berdych.

The American men will feel the pressure to perform at home especially John Isner or Sam Querry. Might be hard for Querry to focus after all the attention surrounding his millionaire matchmaker appearance.

Predictions are always fun, but how the tournament unfolds is always a surprise. Can’t wait for play to start.

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Genie in 2015?

Last season was a breakout season for Eugenie Bouchard of Canada. She reached the semifinals of the first three majors, The Australian Open, Wimbledon and The French Open, making her the only WTA player to accomplish that feat in 2014.
By the end of the season she had reached a career high ranking of number 5 in the world putting her among the ranks of the elite players including Serena Williams, Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova.
Looking forward to the upcoming season I must say I am feeling apprehensive about how her sophomore season will unfold. A number of changes have occurred in the Bouchard camp following all her success.
As with any successful athlete, endorsement opportunities became available almost immediately. Genie went from being the spokesperson for “Pinty’s” chicken products to signing a Canadian national deal with Coca-Cola. The demands for Genie’s presence at events increased, including promotional appearances for the WTA finals event in Singapore. In the offseason, Genie signed on with IMG to be her agent and she also signed a modelling contract with IMG as well.
Around the same time Genie severed her coaching relationship with Nick Saviano who has been her primary coach for the last eight years.
So as Genie enters the 2015 season she has not yet secured a coach and her focus solely on tennis appears to be in jeopardy, and as one can see by her Twitter posts she is enjoying the benefits of a good year.
Another factor to consider is that after the past year other players on the tour are now more aware of what to expect of her game when they play her and the pressure of now being expected to win changes the dynamics of the matches.
As we saw in some of Genie’s matches towards the end of the season most notably in Singapore, Genie can be stubborn when it comes to changing her game. If her aggressive game is not working she continually fires away instead of reigning in some of her shots until she gets back on track. As the star of Canadian tennis along with Milos Raonic i hope Genie has a great season but i will not be surprised if there are a few hiccups along the way.

What is going on in Singapore?

In my last post I expressed my opinion that Genie Bouchard would advance out of the Red round robin group at the WTA Finals and that she probably would lose out in the semifinals to either Maria Sharapova or Petra Kvitova.   I also previously noted that the outcome of many matches could depend on the fitness and the injury status of the players involved.

In her first match Genie struggled against Simona Halep and her second match against Ana Ivanovic was similar in nature. Genie committed numerous unforced errors in both her matches and heavy strapping could be seen on her injured thigh.  Bouchard also has commented that she has had limited training time on the court due to her thigh injury and felt unprepared for this event.  Simona also withdrew from a recent tournament with a hip injury following  a number of poor showings that seemed to indicate a lack of confidence in her game. It seemed in their match that as long as Simona kept the ball in play Genie would make the error.  But i certainly was taken by surprise by the dominant win today by Simona over Serena Williams. Serena appeared fit in her win over Ana Invanovic on Monday showing no signs of the knee injury that caused her withdrawal from an earlier tournament.

As the Red group stands now, Simona is in the lead with 2 victories, Serena and Ana each have one win and one loss and Genie has two losses. So the match between Simona and Ana looks to be the deciding match as far as who will head to the semifinals from this group, while Genie could spoil Serena’s chance to advance.

The White group has also had surprising results. Petra Kvitova has been playing well following up her Wimbledon victory with a championship in Wuhan, China. In contrast Agnieszka Radwanska has struggled this season, winning only one title with a 46-19 record for the year.  But when the two met on Tuesday, it was Radwanska that used her all round game to defeat the powerful Kvitova.  The match between Caroline Wozniacki and Maria Sharapova was a classic struggle between the two players with Caroline coming out victorious. Going forward Petra will have to defeat Caroline and Maria to reclaim the title she won in 2011, also the year she won her first Wimbledon title.  Maria will have to defeat Petra and Aga to keep her hope of the title and possibly the number one ranking alive.

Predictions in sport are always fun, but if we knew what was going to happen, we would not have to play the game and thats the great part, the results are always a surprise.

Can Bouchard make noise at the WTA finals?

As I looked at the list of qualifiers for the WTA finals I started to wonder if Genie could do any damage at this tournament. I decided to wait until the two round robin groups had been set before I began to make any predictions.
So Genie finds herself in the Red group with none other than Serena Williams, the current number one, along with Simona Halep and Ana Ivanovic.
The top two players after round robin play will face off against the top two from the White group in the semifinals and finals.
Serena and Genie have never played. When Serena is in top form I have no doubt she could defeat Genie, but Serena pulled out of her last two tournaments with an illness followed by a knee injury. When Genie plays Serena in the round robin she could take advantage of Serena’s lack of tournament play but she will need to be aggressive right from the start. Genie has a 2-0 winning record against Ana, but the last time they played was a 3 set match early in the season at the Australian Open and Ana has been playing great tennis for most of 2014. Genie has a 1-1 record against Simona this year, winning the Wimbledon semifinal but losing in the round of 16 at Indian Wells, however Simona has lost a lot of confidence in her game which has resulted in poor showings at her last tournaments.

With all of the above taken into consideration i expect Genie to advance out of the Red round robin group and into the semifinals. She could face Maria Sharapova or Petra Kvitova in the semis if the White group plays out as I expect. Genie has an 0-2 record against Maria and an 0-3 record against Kvitova including the Wimbledon final and more recently the final in Wuhan. In 2014 Genie only has 6 wins over top ten players and to win this event her level of play would have to be consistently high. So although i think she will make it out of her round robin group i don’t expect her to get past the semifinals.