Following a strong showing in the Australian Open, Eugenie Bouchard will look to build on that momentum and live up to her billing as the top seed in the WTA Diamond Games this week in Antwerp. Her campaign to the title will begin against Mona Barthel, whom she has faced only once previously on the WTA tour. Bouchard leads the head-to-head series 1-0 and will look to extend that lead on Thursday.
World No. 7 Eugenie Bouchard may have ended her 2014 season in abysmal fashion, but she appeared up to the challenge at the start of the New Year, as she reached the quarter-final stage of the Aussie Open before losing to Maria Sharapova.
Now, armed with new coach Sam Sumyk, Bouchard will look to continue her rise up the rankings.
“I think it’s important to arrive early at a tournament when you can, and I was able to this time, so I wanted to come early and prepare,” Bouchard said. “I haven’t done much here except practicing, so I haven’t seen much of the city. But from what I’ve seen so far, I think Antwerp is a really cute city.”
“Every tournament I play, I want to try to win,” she said. “Every match is a chance to try and get better, and to try to prove to myself how well I can play. Every match is tough, too – the first round here is just as tough as the first round at Wimbledon. You go to different locations and play under different conditions, but I know I have to try my best anywhere, and I’m happy to win anywhere.”
Germany’s Mona Barthel defeated Klaartje Liebens with relative ease in her opening round match in Antwerp. She struck six aces, won 86% of her first service points, and faced no break points en route to her 6-2, 6-0 victory in 52 minutes.
This is just the second time that Bouchard and Barthel will cross paths on the professional tour, with the Canadian leading the head-to-head series 1-0. Bouchard earned that win last season in Wuhan, where she rallied from a set down to defeat Mona 4-6 6-3 6-4. Given Bouchard’s flakiness at the start of events, this could be another three-set battle to determine who will advance to the quarter-finals.
Prediction: Eugenie Bouchard in Three Sets