Canadian Eugenie Bouchard made a winning debut at the ATP-WTA Portugal Open on Tuesday as third seed Samantha Stosur’s downward spiral continued with a first-round exit.
The 30-year-old Australian Stosur was beaten in just 72 minutes, going down 6-4, 6-0 to Swiss qualifier Timea Bacsinszky, and will now need to make amends quickly next week in Madrid as the French Open draws nearer.
Stosur was Roland Garros runner-up four years ago and reached a semi-final in 2012, but her best result this season came four months ago when she reached the semi-finals in Hobart.
Second seed Bouchard, who was a semi-finalist at the Australian Open in Melbourne in January, beat Russian Alisa Kleybanova 6-4, 6-1 to reach the second round, winning in 73 minutes.
Bouchard broke five times and made a spectacular recovery on a point in the second set in which she completely lost her footing but managed to win anyway with some luck and a shot hit while sitting down.
“I thought I was out of the point when I fell but she hit right back at me,” said the world number 18. “For fun, I hit it back and ended up winning. This has never happened to me in my life.”
Bouchard fired four aces and was helped by five double-faults from her opponent, whom she also beat last summer on hardcourt in Toronto.
“For a first match, it felt pretty solid,” said the winner. “I concentrated on serving well, and I was happy to be able to do that. I wanted to control the points from my serve. I also tried to take the ball early.
“She has some big shots but I was able to neutralise well today.”
Bouchard will next face Kazakh Yaroslava Shvedova for a quarter-final place.
Top seed Carla Suarez Navarro recovered from last week’s wrist injury to start with a defeat of Alla Kudryavtseva 6-1, 6-2.
Italian fourth seed Roberta Vinci needed three sets to beat Alexandra Cadantu of Romania, while 2012 champion Kaia Kanepi, the Estonian fifth seed, started with a crushing win over Austrian Yvonne Meusburger 6-2, 6-1.
Russian seventh seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, a 2013 quarter-finalist, and eighth seed Elena Vesnina are also through.
In men’s play, Portugal’s world number 243 Rui Machado thrashed fifth seed Dmitry Tursunov 6-0, 6-0 with the Russian unable to explain his collapse.
“I felt like a fish on land. I need to think hard about the state of my tennis and make some serious adjustments. I hope no one has to live through a match like that again,” he said.
Indian Somdev Devvarman defeated Australian Matthew Ebden in straight sets while there was also a comfortable win for Carlos Berlocq against New York-born Japanese Davis Cup player Taro Daniel.
Two-time champion Albert Montanes won in straight sets against fellow Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena.