As the French Open draws to a close, it’s time to look back at the performance of the two Canadian women in the event.
Teen star Leylah Annie Fernandez and Eugenie Bouchard both lost in the third round but it took a week to put their defeats in perspective.
Fernandez, the 18-year-old from Laval, Quebec, held her own against two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova. Fernandez, who gave away eight inches in height and a dozen years of experience led Kvitova 5-1 in the first set before losing 7-5, 6-3.
It was the tightest match Kvitova played before losing to Sofia Kenin in the semifinals and it dispelled the notion that the 5-foot-4 Fernandez would not be able to hang in on against some of the sport’s heavy hitters.
Size will always be a concern for Fernandez but her foot speed and her determination have solidified her position in the top 100.
It has been a while since Bouchard ranked in the top 100 but her showing in Paris was another positive step forward in her comeback after dropping to No, 320 a year ago.
She lost to Poland’s Iga Swiatek 6-3, 6-2 in the third round but it should be noted that none of Swiatek’s opponents in Paris won more than five games as the 19-year-old marched to the final. Two days after beating Bouchard, Swiatek crushed top-seeded Simona Halep 6-1, 6-2.
Despite the loss, Bouchard is playing her best tennis in years.
While COVID-19 wreaked havoc with the tour schedule, Bouchard took advantage of the pandemic to hang out in Las Vegas were she hung out with Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi and embarked on an ambitious training program designed by Agassi’s longtime strength coach Gil Reyes. She also added former WTA player Rennae Stubbs as a coach,
Her efforts paid off as she reached the quarterfinals in
Prague, went through the qualifying to reach the final in Istanbul and took advantage of a wild card to go through to the third round in Paris for her best
Grand Slam showing since 2017.
There won’t be any more tournaments for Bouchard this year but expect her to hit the ground running when the next season begins in January in Australia.