London [United Kingdom]: All eyes were on the intense grudge match between Eugenie Bouchard and Maria Sharapova at the second round of the Madrid Open, where the Canadian produced a brilliant display to take down the former World No. 1.
The air was thick with anticipation as the match came in the wake of the verbal volleys exchanged between the players. Bouchard seemed to get the last word by winning a tense match 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, reports the Guardian.
The Canadian world No 60 had called Sharapova “a cheater” before the Russian’s return to the courts in April after a 15-month doping ban.
Bouchard, who tasted her first win against Sharapova, has clearly stated that she believes the Russian should be banned from tennis for life.
Sharapova, a five-time grand slam winner, was initially banned by the International Tennis Federation for two years after testing positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open, which was then reduced to 15 months and, in October, the court of arbitration for sport said she was not an “intentional doper”.
While Sharapova was clearly looking to respond with her game, she needed to save two break points in the fifth game but broke Bouchard in the sixth with a brutal forehand winner to lead 4-2.
Bouchard immediately broke back and capitalised on careless play from Sharapova, who made six double faults in the first set, to break again.
Nevertheless, Bouchard missed the chance to win the set when she dropped her serve to make it 5-5.
Sharapova then lost a 12-minute service game as Bouchard broke and the Canadian eventually took the opening set 7-5 after a marathon 70 minutes.
Sharapova, who had been struggling with her serve all evening, recovered in the second and claimed a 4-2 lead, and then proceeded to wrap the set up in 6-2.
In the decider set, Sharapova survived five break points in the fifth game. But Bouchard’s steady pressure paid off when she broke to love to go 4-3 up, only for Sharapova to hit instantly back. But another break from Bouchard allowed her to serve for the match to set up a third-round tie with Angelique Kerber.
The men’s world No1 Andy Murray, a two-times Madrid champion, will face Marius Copil in the second round today. (ANI)