Eugenie Bouchard made a winning start in doubles at the WTA250 Chennai Open at the SDAT Stadium in Nungambakkam on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old Canadian, who had defeated Switzerland’s Joanne Zuger in her first-round singles match on Monday, teamed up with Belgian Yanina Wickmayer as the wildcard team knocked out the fourth-seeded Chinese-Polish pair of Xinyun Han and Katarzyna Kawa 6-2, 6-4.
Bouchard and Wickmayer were 2-4 down in the second set before bouncing back to reel off four games in a row as the local spectators filled the usually less crowded Court 2, rooting for the Canadian.
Bouchard duly stayed on for selfie and autograph requests after the win.
"It's been fantastic. I started following Bouchard from the time she reached the Wimbledon final in 2014. Watching her live has been a dream for quite a few years," said Joshua, a fan holding a poster of the Canadian signed by her a few moments ago.
Bouchard faces local favourite Karman Kaur Thandi in the second-round singles match between two wildcards on Wednesday.
Second-seeded Russian Varvara Gracheva began her campaign with a 6-3, 6-2 victory against compatriot and qualifier Mariia Tkacheva.
Earlier in the day, Katie Swan brushed aside the big-hitting Dutchwoman Arianne Hartono.
British world number 174 Swan beat Hartono 6-1, 6-2 to set up a second-round clash with unseeded Russian Anastasia Gasanova, who knocked out the top-seeded American Alison Riske-Amritraj.
The 23-year-old Swan kept the ball in play and let Hartono self-destruct.
Hartono took the ball early on most occasions and looked to hit down-the-line forehand winners on Swan's first serve. The approach did work initially as she broke Swan in the third game of the opening set. Hartono even had a couple of break point opportunities in the fifth and sixth games but the all-out approach cost her as she failed to capitalise on any and Swan took a 6-1 lead.
Swan improved her first-serve percentage in the second set and closed out the match comfortably.
"For me, (it was about) focussing on using my legs well at the start. I haven't played a match for the last five weeks. I knew it was going to be tricky with nerves. Once I started to move well, I could predict what was going on from her side, " said the Bristol-born Swan in the post-match press conference.
About her second-round opponent Gasanova, Swan said, "I don't know much about her but she obviously had a great win today against Alison. I'm going to do a bit of research and probably watch her match (highlights)."
In the second match on Court 1, Russian teenager Oksana Selekhmeteva beat Greek Despina Papamichail 6-3, 6-1.
Argentine Nadia Podoroska faced a spirited Japanese qualifier, Kyoka Okumura. After an exchange of breaks of serves early in the first set, Podoroska saved a couple of break points in the seventh game.
Okamura put in a brilliant first serve up the T at 30-40 (4-5) but the South American managed to hit a backhand return. Okamura rushed to the net and hit a forehand down the line but Podoroska retrieved it again before hitting a forehand pass on a mistimed volley from the Japanese. Podoroska closed the first set at 6-4 and took the second 6-3 as her opponent ran out of steam.
In the following match, Canadian Carol Zhao won 6-1, 6-1 against Australian qualifier Olivia Tjandramulia. Zhao got into the main draw after the withdrawal of Caroline Garcia and Elise Mertens.
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