Canadian Eugenie Bouchard won against Australian teenager Destanee Aiava in her debut at the Kooyong Classic which gave her some confidence leading in to the Australian Open.
Eugenie started fast against the Australian and did not let up closing out the match 6-2 6-0 while tinkering with the technical changes the world No. 83 has made over the off-season.
Destanee clearly struggled from the outset and admitted she was tired from playing a lot of matches in the last two months after winning the Australian Open qualifying and playing in the Australian junior’s final.
Eugenie, who made the semi-finals at the Australian Open in 2014, reached a career high ranking of five in the world that same year and is now eager to put a miserable 2017 season behind her.
“I’m still progressing, it’s just a lot of work,” Eugenie told reporters after the match. “I’ve been practicing a lot, as soon as I lost (in Hobart) I was on the court the next day, that’s just what it takes trying to improve a lot of areas of my game. It’s not going to happen overnight.”
Destanee who is ranked 153 in the world can take confidence from a strong match against Andrea Petkovic to open the 30th anniversary of the tournament on day one and will now look to her first round at Melbourne Park next week.
“Yeah, she played great, I kind of didn’t play to my level at all,” Destanee said. “I didn’t really feel like I was at the standard I should be, we’ll move on, I feel like I’m in good form physically, but I think just mentally it’s not there so if I can get that all together by my first-round match, yeah hopefully. Well I’m getting older and a lot more experience on the tour as well, so yeah, I do see that I need to take a break (after the Open) though, it’s just hard right now this season is ongoing.”
The draw of the Grand Slam to be played at Melbourne Park next week will be done on Thursday night and Eugenie will be more than keen to start 2018 with an opening round win at a major.
“I don’t want to feel any kind of continuation from 2017 because it really wasn’t a good year for me, like I said I worked hard in the off-season so that will take time,” Eugenie said. “For me I was just happy to be out there in a pretty official feeling match with stands, a crowd and an umpire. I was just focusing on myself and working on things throughout the match.”
The women’s final match will see former world No. 9 Andrea Petkovic from Germany play against in-form 20-year-old Swiss Belinda Bencic who is fresh off a Hopman Cup win with teammate Roger Federer.