Wimbledon 2015: No end to Eugenie Bouchard's demise as she is beaten by qualifier Ying-Ying Duan

Last year's finalist suffered her 13th defeat in 15 matches

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The Independent Online

Anna Kournikova, remember her? She might just have come back as Eugenie Bouchard, another feted for her beauty and struggling to come to terms with the attention it brings.

Kournikova romped to the Wimbledon semi-finals as a 15-year-old poppet on debut in 1997. The world, we thought, was hers to inherit. Instead it consumed her, the celebrity and endorsements that came with all that arresting blondeness acting like breezeblock attached to the waist.

Bouchard offered a grade-two abdominal tear to explain her 13th defeat in 15 matches, 7-6, 6-4 against China’s Ying-Ying Duan. But she accepts her results since reaching the Wimbledon final last year as a 20-year-old have not been good enough, and the adjustment to the intrusion that accompanies fame and fortune difficult to handle.

“It’s been a huge learning process to have great results and then have, you know, so much attention, then have bad results, just learning about the ups and downs of life and tennis, how things won’t always go perfectly like I expect them to,” she said.

 

“I’m always trying to keep the belief and stay true to myself and do what I need to do to become as good as I know I can be. It’s really just been kind of eye opening, a learning experience. But I’m good for the learning experience to be over now.”

It started well enough, with Bouchard taking the first two games of the match. There‑ after it was only ever an ordeal in the sun, every point a weighty affair with the potential, it seemed, to be career defining. She appeared almost resigned to her fate when slapping the ball into the net one last time to send a player ranked 100 places beneath her through in her stead.

How has such a joyous tale become such a burden? The march to the final 12 months ago followed semi-final appearances in Australia at the start of the year and the French. It seemed Wimbledon would be the seat of her coronation as the new queen of tennis, a blue-eyed pin-up for the post-Williams age.

Now Bouchard is fighting to avoid the Kournikova trap, her career nosedive bearing an inverse relation to the money she is banking. The face of Coca-Cola in Canada turned to one of despair in London. “It’s definitely been a tough time. But if I stick with it, keep going, have the success I know I can have, I think it will be that much sweeter.”

Defending champion Petra Kvitova opened on Centre Court against an overwhelmed Kiki Bertens. The whole thing was over in 35 minutes, 6-1,  6-0, hardly enough time for the only player to record a victory over Serena Williams this year to break sweat in the Centre Court sauna.

Within 15 minutes Kvitova was serving for the opening set. Poor Bertens. The Dutch girl would have grown up dreaming of the day she might walk out on Centre Court. Never did she imagine it might swallow her  whole like this. England manager Roy Hodgson, a guest in the Royal Box with wife Shelagh, wondered what life might be like if he could find a striker like Kvitova.  

The four points Bertens won in the opening set were those that secured her only hold of serve. The first and last point surrendered by Kvitova on serve, and a double fault at that, came as she served for the match.

The beating was worth £1,000 a minute to Bertens, some compensation perhaps, but she would probably have paid twice that sum to avoid the humiliation. The only downside for Kvitova was apologising to her parents for so short a Centre Court outing.

World No 3 Simona Halep was the highest-ranking casualty in the women’s draw, losing in three sets to Jana Ceplova 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.

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