Pickleball Pro Bouchard Returns To Tennis And Wins Her First Match Of 2024

Pickleball Pro Bouchard Returns To Tennis And Wins Her First Match Of 2024

by Erik Virostko

Eugenie Bouchard returned to tennis and it was an impressive comeback from her, as she crushed her opponent in her first match in seven months.

Over the past year, the Canadian's future in tennis looked very uncertain. She announced her switch to professional pickleball in September 2023, but then she still played at the Guadalajara Open after that and even represented Canada at the Billie Jean King Cup.

Bouchard also played exhibition against Caroline Wozniacki at the Dallas Open, and now, she played her first competitive match since that Guadalajara Open participation last year.

However, this time around, it wasn't a WTA Tour-level competition, as she signed up for a W75 tournament in Zephyrhills, Florida, in the United States. It's a clay-court tournament, and in the first round, Bouchard was drawn against the sixth-seeded Justina Mikulskyte from Lithuania.

The Lithuanian is the world no. 224, and as one of the seeded players at the lower-tier event, trying to break through, she certainly didn't want to see 2014 Wimbledon finalist on the other side of the net in the first round.

Bouchard, on the other hand, wasn't surprised by one of the higher-ranked players at the event, comfortably managing the match in two sets. After both players held their serve in the opening set, it was all about the Canadian.

She won five games in a row and took the first set, 6-1. The second set followed a very similar storyline, with Bouchard winning five consecutive games from 0-1 to 5-1, when Mikulskyte won one game, before Bouchard closed out the match, winning 6-1, 6-2.

In the next round, the pickleball professional will take on the winner of the match between the world no. 265, Fanny Stollar, and the world no. 208, Maya Joint, who is an 18-year-old Australian talent.

Should Bouchard make her way through the draw, she can face the likes of Timea Babos, the former world no. 24 in singles and former world no. 1 and four-time Grand Slam champion in doubles.

Also, players such as Ann Li, Whitney Osuigwe, and Kayla Day compete at the tournament, so there won't be a lack of good opponents for the Canadian.


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