Second seed Eugenie Bouchard reached a European claycourt quarter-final for the second time in her career as the Canadian defeated Yaroslava Shvedova 6-4, 6-2 on Wednesday at the ATP-WTA Portugal Open.
The 20-year-old debutante at the Jamor Sports Complex, ranked 18th, won the last four games of the opening set from 2-4 down and had to keep up the fight in the second set to ease past the 65th-ranked Kazakh in a first-time meeting.
Bouchard played a claycourt semi-final at Strasbourg in 2013 and also reached the last-four on American green clay three weeks ago in Charleston.
She saved seven of nine break points, broke five times and benefitted from six double-faults from Shvedova in 87 minutes on court.
The final game of the opening set was a marathon, comprising seven deuces.
“I just tried to stay positive and get through it,” said Bouchard. “I began playing more steady in the second set. It’s important to control the points against her big shots.
“She can hit really big balls and we were fighting a lot today.”
Top seed Carla Suarez Navarro inflicted a 6-0, 6-0 drubbing on Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, with the Spaniard having lost just three games in her first two matches.
Italian fourth seed Roberta Vinci also showed lethal form, winning the first 10 games in a 6-0, 6-2 hammering of 2009 champion Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium.
It was the sixth straight win for Vinci over Wickmayer, who last beat her in 2010 on a hard court.
“I played a great first game today,” said the top seed. “The match score might have looked easy but it was tough on court.
“We had difficult conditions with the wind, but I played well. I was focused and she was making a lot of errors. I saved a lot of break points in the second set so I’m happy with my play.”
Russian Elena Vesnina, the number eight, needed three hours to get past Serb Bojana Jovanovski 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (9/7) while Swiss qualifier Timea Bacsinszky, ranked 165th, continued her surge of form with a 7-5, 6-0 defeat of Tunisian Ons Jabeur.
The victory came a day after Bacsinszky earned one of her biggest career wins with a knockout of 2010 French Open finalist Samantha Stosur in the first round.
Portugal’s Gastao Elias wrapped up the men’s first round as he beat Italian Filippo Volandri 6-4, 6-3.
Elias, ranked 179, won his first match on clay of 2013 and his fifth of the season on any surface. He reached the quarter-finals a year ago, losing to eventual champion Stanislas Wawrinka.
The only other ATP-level main draw appearances this year for Elias came as a qualifier in Delray Beach and Sao Paulo where he lost first-round matches.
He next challenges Spanish fourth seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.