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Canadian Eugenie Bouchard pulls off another upset at Prague Open

Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard is off to the quarter-finals at the Prague Open.

Bouchard, from Westmount, Que., beat Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia 7-6 (2), 6-7 (2), 6-2 in the second round of the WTA Tour clay-court event on Thursday.

Bouchard exacted revenge on the 72nd-ranked Zidansek, who beat the Canadian in the opening round of Wimbledon last year with an 8-6 triumph in the third set.

Zidansek fought back from a 4-1 deficit in the second set to force a third set Thursday before Bouchard regained control, prevailing in two hours 52 minutes.

WATCH | Eugenie Bouchard pulls off upset win:

Wildcard Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., beat Slovenia’s Tamara Zidanšek 7-6(2), 6-7(2), 6-2 in a Round of 16 match that lasted over three hours at the Prague Open. 3:08

“I was pretty proud of myself with how I was able to bounce back after losing the second set,” Bouchard said. “I kind of regrouped and told myself to just get back to playing my game. Not let her dominate the ball, but kind of step up and take advantage.”

Bouchard is playing in an official tournament for the first time since January when she suffered a wrist injury. Just over a month later, the WTA Tour suspended play because of COVID-19.

This is the second week of play in the WTA Tour’s restart. No fans are at the facility.

“We’ve been practising for months, it kind of feels just like practice or a practice match or an exhibition,” Bouchard said.

“It feels very real because we have an umpire and ball boys and we obviously knows it’s a real match but the atmosphere definitely makes it feel a little more like a practice match, which we do all the time.”

However, Bouchard realizes more people are paying attention to an official match than a practice.

Bouchard expects to be underdog against Mertens

“I try to think of fans watching online or my family who’d wake up to watch,” she said. “I know they’re there somewhere around the world.”

Given a wildcard into the event, Bouchard, ranked 330th in the world, will next face No. 3 seed and world No. 23 Elise Mertens of Belgium in the quarterfinals on Friday.

Bouchard is projected to rise to No. 272 if she loses to Mertens, but the former world No. 5 could get back into the top 200 if she wins the tournament.

“My first thoughts are she’s a great player, she’s highly ranked for a reason,” Bouchard said. “I’m going to be the underdog for sure and I’m just going to go there and try to play my game.”

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