CHARLESTON, SC—In a first-round match between former Grand Slam finalists, it was Sara Errani who prevailed in straight sets over Eugenie Bouchard, 6-4, 6-4.

The last time these two played each other was back in 2014, only months before Bouchard reached her first career major championship match at Wimbledon. She defeated the 2012 French Open runner-up in straight sets back then in Indian Wells.

The years since have had their ups and downs for both players, but in this encounter between the former members of the Top 5, it was Errani who set the tone of today’s match right away, breaking Bouchard in the first game and then consolidating to take a 2-0 lead. Bouchard held the next game, then jumped to a quick lead on Errani’s serve before breaking to level the set at two games apiece.

Bouchard’s momentum continued as she stretched her games-won streak to three. Errani then worked her way through a difficult hold, and on Bouchard’s serve, a couple of crafty backhands and huge forehands led her to another service break. From there, the two remained on serve and on set point for Errani, the Italian hit a forehand that clipped the net that Bouchard was unable to get a play on. That gave her the opener, 6-4.

Match point from Errani's victory over Bouchard in Charleston:


Throughout the first set, Bouchard was trying to put the pressure on Errani as she consistently launched herself into her groundstrokes. However, the Canadian was unable to hit through Errani or capitalize on opportunities when Errani had to hit a second serve: Errani won 75 percent of her second serves, despite them consistently landing in the 60-plus mph range in blustery conditions.

In the second set, the two players exchanged holds before Errani got an early break again and went on to take a 3-1 lead.

Bouchard, however, got a quick hold and continued her aggressive play, as she took a 15-30 lead on Errani’s serve. She managed to break to level the set at three-all, then took a 4-3 lead.

As Errani served, Bouchard got it to 15-30, and it looked like she was on course to change the tenor of the match. However, missed opportunities by way of drop shot and volley errors gave Errani the game.

Perhaps sensing that she had her opponent in a vulnerable spot after those misses, Errani struck fast, breaking at 15. She then held easily, clinching the match on a backhand passing shot.

Errani next plays 15th-seeded Mihaela Buzarnescu in the second round.

Sara Errani defeats Eugenie Bouchard in first round of Volvo Car Open

Sara Errani defeats Eugenie Bouchard in first round of Volvo Car Open

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