Miami R1: Eugenie Bouchard vs Lucie Hradecka
Eugenie Bouchard will begin her Miami Open campaign on Wednesday with a first round clash with Lucie Hradecka. Bouchard has made a very positive start to the season, the Canadian certainly seems to have put her 2015 season form slump behind her as the future once against looks very bright for Genie. Bouchard will be a strong favourite heading into this first round clash but Hradecka is capable of causing Bouchard some problems and actually leads their head-to-head series 2-1.
Eugenie Bouchard’s level has steadily improved in season 2016 after a horror ending to 2015, however there is still a way to go before the Canadian reaches the level that saw her crack into the top 5 in 2014. Bouchard arrives in Miami fresh off a decent couple of weeks of tennis, reaching the final in Kuala Lumpur before defeating Sloane Stephens on route to the third round appearance at the BNP Paribas Open where Genie would ultimately succumb to Timea Bacsinszky in a three set clash. Interestingly, Bouchard has only ever won 1 match at the Miami Open, and will have minimal points to defend after a first up loss to Tatjana Maria in Miami last year. A good opportunity for Bouchard to continue to build her ranking as she looks to mover back towards the top 10.
Lucie Hradecka finally recorded her first main draw victory of 2016 last week at the BNP Paribas Open, recording a very nervy three set win over Alison Riske. However, the Czech’s run didn’t last long as she was eliminated by Ekaterina Makarova courtesy of a straight set defeat in the second round. Hradecka has also struggled in Miami in recent years, Lucie has not won a main draw match at the event since 2011.
Surprisingly, Lucie Hradecka holds a 2-1 head-to-head advantage over Bouchard, but Lucie’s two victories came in 2012 before Bouchard’s rise. The Canadian won the only relevant previous match between the pair, a comfortable 6-2 6-2 win in Indian Wells last year. I suspect this will be another relatively comfortable win for Genie given her recent stable form and Lucie’s recent woes. There are no strong reasons to suggest this match will result in an upset. Bouchard should be too good.