Eugenie Bouchard beats former idol Maria Sharapova
Canadian holds her nerve to win in three sets and reach the last-16 of the Madrid Open
Eugenie Bouchard celebrates her three set win over Maria Sharapova. Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty
The pair faced each other in the second round in Spain with Bouchard winning 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 in a competitive and tense match.
Canadian Bouchard had called Sharapova “a cheater” prior to the Russian’s return to competitive action in April after a 15-month doping ban.
It was world number 60 Bouchard’s first ever win over Sharapova, whom she believes 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.
It was reduced to 15 months and, in October, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said Sharapova was not an “intentional doper”.
Bouchard was still hugely critical of Sharapova, though, and the fired-up Russian looked to gain some kind of payback early on in Madrid.
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 sloppy play from Sharapova, who made six double faults in the first set, to break again.
Yet Bouchard missed the chance to win the first 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 70 minutes.
Sharapova, who struggled with her serve all evening, recovered in the second, again claiming a 4-2 lead.
This time she did not let Bouchard back in as she wrapped it up 6-2.
Neither player was prepared to give ground in the decider as Sharapova survived five break points in the fifth game.
Bouchard’s pressure paid off when she broke to love to go 4-3 up, only for Sharapova to instantly hit back.
But another break from Bouchard allowed her to serve for the match to set up a third-round tie with Angelique Kerber.
Germany’s Kerber won 6-2 1-6 7-5 against Katerina Siniakova, while Anastasija Sevastova beat Karolina Pliskova 6-3 6-3.
Elsewhere, Lara Arruabarrena beat 15th seed Barbora Strycova 3-6 6-3 6-3 as Kristina Mladenovic edged out American Lauren Davis 6-3 1-6 7-6 (7/1).
Svetlana Kuznetsova knocked out Alison Riske, with the Russian coming from behind to win 2-6 7-6 (11/9) 6-2.