KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. â€” Canadian tennis player Eugenie Bouchard a fourth consecutive loss, losing 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 to Ashleigh Barty in the first round of the Miami Open on Wednesday.
Barty claimed the last three games of the match between two past junior Wimbledon champions whose careers have both been filled with ups and downs.
Barty, a 20-year-old Australian, was off the tour for about 1 1/2 years, including a stint playing cricket. But she is back and better than ever now, ranked a career-high 91st after winning her first WTA title as a qualifier at Kuala Lumpur. She has now won eight straight matches.
Bouchard, a 23-year-old from Westmount, Que., has exited in the first round of each of her past three tournaments and is now ranked 56th after reaching No. 5 in 2014, the year she was the runner-up at Wimbledon and reached the semifinals at two other Grand Slam tournaments.
Barty could have ended this match much sooner, because three times she was a point from serving for it in the second set. But Bouchard fended off those chances, then took that set by breaking in the last game.
At 3-all, Barty broke with a forehand winner. She then saved a pair of break points to go up 5-3, and broke again when Bouchard double-faulted twice in a row to set up three match points. Barty converted on the second when Bouchard sent a forehand long.
Next up for Barty is an all-Australian match against 2011 U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur, who is seeded 14th.
In other first-round action Wednesday at the hard-court tournament, American wild-card entry Bethanie Mattek-Sands defeated Katerina Siniakova 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in nearly 2 1/2 hours, American qualifier Madison Brengle got past Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, Yaroslava Shvedova saved a match point to edge Jelena Jankovic 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3), and qualifier Jana Cepelova eased past Andrea Petkovic 6-2, 6-4.
In men’s matches, 108th-ranked American qualifier Ernesto Escobedo beat Britain’s 43rd-ranked Dan Evans 7-5, 0-6, 6-3, Donald Young advanced when Dustin Brown double-faulted on the final point of the American’s 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 win, and Fabio Fognini defeated Ryan Harrison 6-4, 7-5.
The Associated Press