Canada’s success in the New York bubble seems to be continuing across the pond this week, as Eugenie Bouchard powered into her first WTA final in four-and-a-half years on the clay of Istanbul.
Following a pair of marathon victories in her last two rounds—a 7-6 (3), 6-7 (5), 6-2 second-round win over No. 1 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova and a 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 quarterfinal win over Danka Kovinic—the Canadian cruised past Spain’s Paula Badosa in an hour and 25 minutes on Saturday, 6-3, 6-2.
It was her sixth match of the tournament—currently ranked No. 272, she had to come through qualies.
“I knew I couldn’t let up even if I was ahead,” Bouchard told WTATennis.com. “She picked up her game in the second set—we had a couple long games, and I knew it could be a battle at any moment, so I was trying to focus on each point individually. Happy I was able to pull away quite quickly at the end.”
Bouchard, a former No. 5 who became the first Canadian—man or woman—to reach a Grand Slam final at Wimbledon in 2014, is now through to her first WTA final since March 2016, when she barely lost to Elina Svitolina in the final of a hard-court event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-5.
She’ll be going for her second WTA title, having won a clay court title in Nurnberg, Germany in 2014.
“I came [to Istanbul] with goals of just how I wanted to do my job on court—physically, mentally, tactically,” she said. “I don’t want to compare it to other weeks where I’ve had great results. I’m specifically proud of how I handled myself every day, because I’ve had to play a match every day - it’s like playing the same amount of matches to get to the final of a Grand Slam, except in half the time.”
Awaiting Bouchard in Sunday’s final will be No. 88-ranked Romanian Patricia Maria Tig, who beat Czech qualifier Tereza Martincova in her semifinal match later in the day, 6-3, 6-3.
Tig is the third-highest-ranked mom on tour after No. 8 Serena Williams and No. 27 Victoria Azarenka.
Meanwhile, in a draw that had four Top 30 players—including No. 12 Fabio Fognini and No. 13 Diego Schwartzman—it’s down to No. 47 Miomir Kecmanovic and No. 118 Yannick Hanfmann in Kitzbuhel.
Kecmanovic, who had taken out No. 6 seed Kei Nishikori earlier in the week in the 2014 US Open finalist’s first match in over a year due to an elbow injury, outdid Swiss qualifier Marc-Andrea Huesler in his semifinal match, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3. And in an all-qualifier battle in the other semifinal, Hanfmann outlasted Serbia’s Laslo Djere after two hours and 25 grueling minutes on court, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5).
Both Kecmanovic and Hanfmann will be seeking their first ATP title in their second career ATP final. Kecmanovic was a runner-up to Lorenzo Sonego on the grass of Antalya, Turkey in 2019, while Hanfmann finished runner-up to another Italian, Fognini, on the clay of Gstaad, Switzerland in 2017.
Both Bouchard-Tig and Kecmanovic-Hanfmann will be first-time head-to-head meetings.