There are few 19-year-olds who can boast their own army. But then, there are few 19-year-olds with as much talent as Eugenie Bouchard and the Canadian showed all of it in a 6-2 6-2 third round win over Lauren Davis that gave the rapidly growing Genie Army plenty to sing about.
In the “youngest” third round of the Australian Open – Davis, at age 20, is a year older than Bouchard – it was the teenager who appeared the vastly more experienced player, taking control early with clean winners, solid serving and devastating intent to secure victory in an hour and 17 minutes.
It was Bouchard’s forehand that proved the more deadly as she recorded 18 winners to Davis’s seven, but there were other equally impressive aspects of a match in which she broke the American’s serve in the second game and barely looked back. Eventually, there would be five service breaks that went the Canadian’s way.
If there is an area that perhaps needs attention in Bouchard’s game, it’s in closing things out. After taking seven match points to secure victory over veteran Frenchwoman Virginie Razzanao in the second round, she suffered her only lapse on Friday when she dropped serve as she served for the first set.
Still, the fact that Bouchard faced just two more break points for the match – she swatted one of them away with one of four aces – showed that composure is a quality that’s growing quickly.
Besides, there is plenty of time for the top-ranked teenager to make the necessary improvements and given her progression at the Australian Open, they could be as evident as soon as her fourth round match against either Casey Dellacqua or Jie Zheng. In the more distant horizon is a potential quarterfinal against world No.1 Serena Williams.
It will be an enormous opportunity for the WTA Newcomer of the Year for 2013, who showed her early ability in the majors by winning the 2012 Wimbledon girls’ title.
A year ago, she failed to qualify for the Australian Open. She entered this year’s event with main draw wins at every other Grand Slam event and having made such rapid gains in the rankings, a seeding at the 2014 tournament.
Already, Bouchard has underlined her growing credentials with a career-best Grand Slam run in Australia, making her Canada’s most successful female player in recent history.
The Genie Army couldn’t be more delighted. Having zoned out their passionate chanting throughout her match, the gracious Bouchard took her time acknowledging her Court Three supporters after her victory.
For the second match running, they rewarded her with a stuffed koala, some more singing and strangely, a party hat.
They’re not the usual accessories of the cavalry but Genie’s Army is not your typical support group either – and so far at Australian Open 2014, she’s turned every battle into something for them to celebrate.